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Due to the current economic situation and budget issues there is no free state funded hepatitis testing in Arizona. Your primary health care provider can refer you for hepatitis testing. If you do not have a provider or are uninsured you can get tested at local urgent care sites. For reduced cost sliding fee scale testing contact your local Community Health Center. Visit the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers for locations.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) acts as the resource for issues concerning adult hepatitis in Arizona. The program is housed in the same office as HIV and STD services in order to offer wrap-around or integrated services to those impacted by or infected with hepatitis, HIV or sexually-transmitted infections (STIs)
Hepatitis includes a range of diseases or infections that impact the function of the human liver. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be described as blood borne pathogens that can be sexually transmitted.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) receives thousands of hepatitis case reports each for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections each year. By far the largest number of cases involve hepatitis C (HCV).
ADHS receives around 8,000 HCV-positive reports per year. The total number of reported HCV-positive individuals in Arizona has grown to more than 80,000. However, Arizona is estimated to have a total hepatitis C population of over 120,000. This means there may be at least 30,000 individuals in Arizona who do not know about their infection. Unlike other diseases HCV has very few “visible” symptoms and most individuals do not discover they have the disease until 20 years after exposure. Exposure estimate numbers indicate that 1 in 12 individuals are either hepatitis B or hepatitis C positive.
Educating the Public
With much of Arizona’s HCV infected population unaware of their status prevention and control is important. The Arizona Hepatitis Program (AzHP) conducts outreach, offers education, and provides web accessible resources and referrals to infected individuals. These efforts aim to improve their health and quality of life to infected individuals, and to reduce their chances of passing the infection to others.
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are both preventable with a series of injections. A majority of children born in Arizona since 1982 have received and completed the hepatitis B vaccine series as part of their standard childhood vaccinations but individuals over the age of 25 may still be at risk for hepatitis B.
The AzHP also participates in a national program to supply local health departments and other partners with hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine for high-risk adults or HCV-positive individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. The vaccine is free, but most health departments charge a minimal administration fee to cover the cost of nurse time, materials and record keeping. As funds are limited, the vaccines are available while supplies last on a first-come, first-served basis.
Additionally the AzHP offers trainings throughout the state on a range of hepatitis and related topics for the layman and healthcare professional. For more information contact the program at 602-364-3655 or Hepatitis@azdhs.gov.