Hepatitis C Testing in Vermont
Free and Anonymous Hepatitis C Testing
Vermont CARES provides free and anonymous Hepatitis C testing at our offices in Burlington, Montpelier, Saint Johnsbury, and Rutland. We offer a fingerstick rapid results blood test (similar to our HIV test) and results are available in just 20 minutes. This test is 98% accurate.
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Please contact us to make an appointment.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a blood born, viral liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (also known as Hep C or HCV). Currently, the majority of new infections are due to sharing needles or other equipment for injecting drugs (learn more about the Vermont CARES Syringe Exchange Program). Hepatitis C is contagious and causes severe damage to the liver, and for the majority of people the infection becomes a chronic disease that can result in death. People can live with hepatitis C for a long time without knowing they have the infection, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, and the virus is easily transmittable through blood; this makes testing important for those at risk for infection. You can learn more about hepatitis C at the Centers for Disease Control.
Based on statistics by the United States Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that 2.7 million people in the US are currently infected with the hepatitis C virus, and in 2013 there were approximately 29,718 cases. Many of those currently infected with hepatitis C may be unaware of their infection and can be living without any visible signs, symptoms, or illness. Testing is important to receive proper medical treatment and help stop the spread of the disease.
How is Hepatitis C Transmitted?
The most common methods of transmitting hepatitis C is sharing of syringes, needles, or paraphernalia for intravenous use of drugs. Hepatitis C can also be transmitting by sharing shaving razors and toothbrushes, and a hepatitis C-positive mother can pass the infection onto her unborn child. You can learn more about how the virus is transmitted here.
Who Should be Tested For Hepatitis C?
Everybody is encouraged to be tested for the virus if you suspect that you have hepatitis C or are otherwise at risk for it. Certain groups of people are more likely to contract the disease, and they should be tested for Hepatitis C. Those at a greater risk for infection include:
- People who use or have used syringes/needles to inject the drugs (learn more about our syringe exchange program);
- Health care workers, hospital workers, and other people who have been exposed to the Hepatitis C virus;
- AIDS/HIV-positive individuals;
- Children of mothers who are Hepatitis C-positive.
If you belong to any of the groups above, you are at higher risk of being infected with hepatitis C. It is crucial that you be tested. Hepatitis C testing at Vermont CARES is quick (20 minutes), free, and anonymous. Contact us to make an appointment. Should you test positive, Vermont CARES is here to support you.