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hep c basics

 

 

Hep C is a blood born viral infection of the liver – over time, it can lead to serious consequences including liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. HIV can exacerbate the problem. Doctors don’t know much about Hep C – it’s not unlike what was known about HIV 20 years ago. It can be transmitted sexually but actual cases of sexual transmission of Hep C are rare.

HCV is most often spread through contaminated needles. Tattoo needles, razors and toothbrushes may also spread the virus. Most people infected with the virus don’t experience any of the common symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and flu-like feelings. About 10-25% of people with chronic HCV disease develop severe liver disease – usually between 10-40 years. Liver inflammation is also a common symptom. Others include fibrosis, (when tough, stringy tissue develops), scarring, liver cancer and liver failure. Some develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. When people develop cirrhosis, scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and the organ cannot function properly. This can lead to bleeding veins in the esophagus or stomach, abdominal swelling, and brain dysfunction. Many people get liver transplants as a result of the liver failure.

Healthy Liver Tips:

... Avoid alcohol. It contributes largely to liver damage, especially in people with hepatitis.

Avoid exposure to environmental toxins such as solvents, paint thinners and pesticides.

Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Sustain, moderate, regular exercise.

Get plenty of rest and sleep.

See your doctor regularly and monitor your liver enzymes and blood cell counts.

Don’t share needles or other works.

  Don’t share toothbrushes, nail clippers or razors.

Why take care of your Liver?

Your liver performs important functions, such as:

... Cleaning the blood of wastes and toxins.

Storing energy.

Helping to keep you from getting sick. You can't live without a functioning liver.
 

Want more info on hepatitis C, support groups, & where to get medical care for hep C in the bay area?
 
OASIS Clinic
Oasis is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Oakland, CA. The primary mission of O.A.S.I.S. is to provide low-cost, subsidized medical care, clinical research studies, and provision of and/or access to social and vocational rehabilitation services for medically marginalized former or current drug and alcohol users. They're an especially good source of information for methadone patients with hepatitis C. New! They have a hepatitis discussion board. Go to their home page and click on the link, "discussion groups."
Phone: (510) 496-0189, 1-800-282-1777

Harm Reduction Coalition
The Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) is committed to reducing drug-related harm among individuals and communities by initiating and promoting local, regional, and national harm reduction education, interventions, and community organizing. HRC fosters alternative models to conventional health and human services and drug treatment; challenges traditional client/provider relationships; and provides resources, educational materials, and support to health professionals and drug users in their communities to address drug-related harm.
The Harm Reduction Coalition believes in every individual's right to health and well-being as well as in their competency to protect and help themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.
http://www.harmreduction.org/
 
HCV Advocate/ Hepatitis Support Project
The HCV Advocate newsletter is a valuable resource designed to provide the hepatitis C community with monthly updates on events, clinical research, and education. The site has personal stories and tons of information.
http://www.hcvadvocate.org/

The Hepatitis Education Project
The Hepatitis Education Project is a non-profit corporation chartered in the state of Washington to provide educational materials and support groups for hepatitis patients and their families. They run the Hepatitis Resource Center, a place for patients, family members, friends, social service providers and anyone who has questions about hepatitis. www.scn.org/health/hepatitis/

HCV Prison Support Project
HCV Prison Support Project now has a toll free number,1-866-HEPINFO (1-866-437-4636), available to HCV + and co-infected prisoners who have just been released from prison. They will be providing information on Medicaid, hepatitis C and HCV support. Prisoners are not able to make toll free numbers from prison, but we are hoping that this number will provide them with valuable information when first getting out of prison along with the extra support they will need. The HCV Prison Project conducts educational hepatitis C workshops inside prison, puts out a newsletter on hepatitis C and sends out information packets - free of charge.
 
To request newsletter or information packet send request to: Hepatitis C Awareness Project, PO Box 41803, Eugene, OR 97404.

HIV and Hepatitis
The website’s objective is to create a quality online publication that provides accurate, timely and cutting-edge information about treatment for HIV/AIDS, chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and co-infection with HIV/HCV and HIV/HBV.
www.hivandhepatitis.com  

Project Inform
Project Inform is a national nonprofit, community based organization working to end the AIDS epidemic.
www.projectinform.org/fs/hcv.html

The Hepatitis Information Network
Contains links to a variety of hepatitis B information and news.
http://www.hepnet.com/hepb.html
 
Hep C support Groups

Hepatitis C hotline 1-888-437-2608 (Be in Charge Program support program to patients with hepatitis B or C, not in treatment or on Peg. This is a Schering Plough (pharmaceutical company) service. Nurses trained in the medical treatment of hepatitis C can provide treatment education on the phone, provide you with information through the mail, and for folks already on medications to treat hepatitis C the nurses can provide support and tips on managing the side effects. Press 2 to speak with a registered nurse (Schering Plough also has a commitment to Care program that provides financial assistance for the cost of medications for low income folks) The nurses aren’t trained in prevention of hepatitis C and don’t have training about issues that might come up for injection drug users.
 
Heptatitis C Support Project
The Hepatitis Support Project offers support to those who are affected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Support is provided through information and education, and access to support groups. The Project seeks to serve the HCV community and the general public.
P.O. Box 427037
San Francisco, CA 94142-7037
Phone: 415-587-8908
http://www.hcvadvocate.org

UCSF Liver Transplant Program Support Group
Meets Every Tuesday; 1-2 pm
UCSF Medical Center, 505 Parnassus, Long Solarium
Phone:415-353-1040
Contact Sherry Laemmermann (laemmermanns@surgery.ucsf.edu) for more information.
For pre and post liver transplant UCSF patients. Alternate contact: Pauline Rogers, 415-353-1284, rogersp@surgery.ucsf.edu

Co-Infection (HIV/HCV) Support Group Primarily for Veterans
Meets last Tuesday of every month; 12 Noon
VA Hospital, 4150 Clement St. at 42nd Ave., Bldg. 203, Room 1B26
Phone:415-221-4810, x3759
Contact Marian Kerbleski, RN (marian.kerbleski@med.va.gov) for more information.
Support group for veterans living with HIV/HCV co-infection.

Hepatitis C Co-infection Issues
Meets 4th Tuesday of every month; 12 noon
SFVA Medical Center, 4150 Clement St. at 42nd Ave., ID Clinic; Bldg. 203; Ib-26A,
Phone:415-221-4810, x 3759
Contact Marian Kerbleski, RN (marian.kerbleski@med.va.gov) for more information.
Support group for those living with hepatitis C coinfection issues. Lunch is included.

Hepatitis C Support Group
Meets 1st/3rd Tues. of every month; 6:45-8:15 p.m.
Community Health Resource Center, 2100 Webster St., Suite 106
Phone:415-333-2411
Contact Bill Evans (Email Not Available) for more information.

Liver Transplant Support Group
Meets every Monday and Thursday; 10-11:30 am
California Pacific Medical Center, 2351 Clay St., 3rd Floor, Boardroom
Phone:415-600-1035
Contact Marjorie Davis (davisma@sutterhealth.org) for more information.
Pre/Post liver transplant support group. For CPMC patients only.
 
 
This list was created by the Speed Project for the SPEEDOMETER. SPEEDOMETER contains personal stories, interviews, opinions, harm reduction tips, artwork, and articles and info about local health, social services, and drug treatment. SPEEDOMETER is for gay/bi and heteroflexible guys who party with speed and is not intended for anyone else. Check it out!


 
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