HCV Prevention and Care Education

Investigator: Kimberly Page, PhD, MPH
Sponsor: PHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Location(s): United States


Hepatitis C is an enormous global health problem with an estimated 170 million to 200 million people infected around the world, and 3 million to 5 million people infected in the US. The disease is spread largely by direct blood-to-blood contact. The most common means of transmission is from reusing infected needles and, to a lesser extent, from the other paraphernalia needle users employ to prepare their injections. Sexual transmission is rare. In San Francisco, about 40 percent of people using heroin or other injected drugs are infected with hepatitis C. Among those who are not infected, about 25 percent will become infected within a year. At the Tenderloin site, researchers use sophisticated new methods to detect the virus and work to get people referred into care, social services, and substance abuse treatment. “We have to try new approaches, like providing people housing, as an avenue to prevention,” Page says.

Because the people being served and studied in the Tenderloin face some of the same difficulties and challenges as people with hepatitis C elsewhere in the world—poverty, homelessness, the stigma of drug abuse—Page believes the lessons learned can have an impact globally. 

The project os called UFO Presents! A viral hepatitis prevention and education program for young adult IDUs. The acronym stands for “You Find Out,” and the study provides an opportunity for injection drug users under the age of 30 to get tested and learn if they’re infected with the hepatitis C or HIV.  is a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded program providing much needed hepatitis education, prevention and care services for youth and young adults with injection risk in San Francisco, CA.