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Viral Hepatitis In the News: Fighting Hepatitis C by Providing Treatment at Homeless Shelters

Organizations providing housing for the homeless can also be important sites for hepatitis C treatment and support.

The homeless population is disproportionately impacted by hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, with an estimated prevalence of 22% to 53% percent. Several factors frequently associated with homelessness (e.g., history of injection drug use, incarceration) are also associated with an increased risk for HCV infection. Because homeless people’s lives tend to be unstable- they don’t have a consistent place to stay or keep their belongings secure- and they often don’t have access to health care services, treating homeless individuals for HCV has been a challenge. However, given appropriate support, HCV treatment is very effective in curing people who are homeless.

A June 13, 2017 article from Southern California Public Radio reports on one approach to treating HCV in homeless persons – through providers at a transitional housing facility. Clients at the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles are receiving HCV treatment in a convenient and stigma-free environment, which removes several barriers to treatment and cure. The program expects to treat up to 25 people by the end of 2017. Read the full article.

The National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, 2017 – 2020 has identified homeless individuals as a priority population, a focus for national efforts to address the epidemic of HCV. To learn more, download the plan and see how to get involved.

Learn how homeless shelters are removing barriers to #HepC treatment and making #ViralHepAction: https://go.usa.gov/xRqHA

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Public Health and Safety
Health Data
Tagged: Hepatitis C