Harm Reduction Issues

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that affects the liver. It’s the most common blood-borne virus in the U.S. and affects roughly 2.5 million people according to the CDC. Shared syringes are one of the most common ways to spread this illness, putting people who use drugs at increased risk of contracting it.

Thanks to robust harm reduction services and advances in treatment, HCV is both preventable and curable. Harm Reduction is dedicated to demanding access to treatment for people regardless of insurance. These advocacy efforts are getting us closer to eliminating HCV.

left, man holding a post it note that says "I challenge stigma by stop letting people die from Hep C"; right, man wearing a yankees cap looking at the camera
Credit: Luceo

Search the Resource Library

Explore our resource library for practical resources to promote the health and dignity of people affected by drug use. You’ll find up-to-date fact sheets, webinars, manuals, training guides, and more.

Hepatitis C and Drug Use

Safer drug use is about lessening the risk of adverse outcomes from using drugs such as becoming infected with HCV. There are many reasons someone may be using drugs – and there are other factors besides just drug use itself that can put people in harm’s way. This is why we provide resources to contextualize drug use, why people use drugs, and ways to make it safer depending on your situation.

Understand More About Hepatitis A, B & C In This Guide

More than 60% of all new HCV patients report injection drug use as their risk factor.

Approximately one-third of young people who inject drugs are infected with HCV.

70-90% of older people who inject drugs (presently or formerly) are infected with HCV.

Hepatitis C Prevention Means Using Safe Supplies

Sharing syringes is the most common way to transmit HCV. Access to sterile syringes and supplies reduces the risk of contracting HCV from injecting drugs. There are over 400 syringe service programs (SSPs) in the U.S.

Responding to the Rise of HCV in Greater Appalachia

The HepConnect Initiative is combating the rise of HCV infections. This regional initiative focuses on the intersection of hepatitis C and drug use in five key states: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

It represents the largest funding for harm reduction programs in U.S. history.

Syringe Service Programs Reduce the Spread of HCV

The CDC recommends syringe service programs (SSPs) and other harm reduction strategies as effective solutions to reduce the transmission of HCV. Learn what your SSP can do to support people who use drugs and are living with hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C Prevention Means Being Informed on Safer Drug Use

No one knows what’s best for you better than you. Whatever drugs you use, we want you to be safe and healthy. Here are some guides we’ve put together to help you make safe choices.

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