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Hepatitis C (HCV)

What is HCV?

Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most common blood borne virus, primarily affecting the liver.

It can be:

  • Acute, meaning the exposed person clears the virus within 6 months and does not need treatment.
  • Chronic, meaning the virus is not cleared and will cause liver damage if not treated. HCV is the leading cause of cirrhosis, end stage liver disease and liver cancer. However, a person can be without symptoms for decades.

How can I be infected with HCV?

HCV is spread through blood. Therefore any activity where someone else’s HCV infected blood could enter your body is a potential risk, such as:

  • Needle sharing and/or sharing 'works'
  • Sharing straws for snorting drugs
  • Tattooing
  • Body piercing
  • Unprotected sex

HCV Treatment

HCV is now a very treatable disease. If treatment is required a course of medication up to around 12 weeks will usually clear it. Your health provider will have to do certain tests to see if you are eligible for treatment.

Know Your Status – Get Tested for HCV

Dubbed the "silent epidemic," HCV is estimated to affect more than 185 million people worldwide, and 4.1 million in the U.S. Of the 4.1 million persons affected, 2.7-3.9 million are living with chronic HCV, and 45-85% are unaware of their status.

Ignoring or hoping it will go away may allow the virus to cause further damage to your body. This is why it is important to get an HCV Test.

It is recommended that everyone be tested at least once for HCV.

For those who have been tested before, we strongly encourage another test if you have participated in the following activities since your last test:

  • Unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex
  • Substance abuse, such as sharing any needles or ‘works’ including the water
  • Tattooing where equipment and/or ink may have been re-used
  • Body piercing where equipment  may have been re-used

The JACQUES Initiative uses a rapid HCV Antibody Test when we provide HCV testing in the community. This test is performed through a finger stick to get a drop of blood. The results are ready in twenty minutes. If this test comes back positive you will be offered an appointment to get a follow up blood test done to see if you have Chronic HCV and require treatment.

Where can you be tested or linked to care by the JACQUES Initiative?

We encourage you to speak to your Primary Care Doctor about getting an HCV test.  However, in partnership with local business and community partners, the JACQUES Initiative offers free HCV testing, linkage to care, and other health services at various sites in the community.

All are welcome. Services vary.

Call 410-706-8225 for more information.

Accessing HCV Care

Any person*, newly diagnosed or "out of care" with HCV can access high quality care at our partner clinic located at:

UMMC Midtown Campus
300 Armory Place, 1st floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

*Some exclusions may apply depending on insurance type

Contact Us

For more information about HCV Testing and linkage to care services we offer, please contact the JACQUES Initiative at 443-682-1401.

Additional HCV Information

Treatment Centers

University of Maryland Medical Center Hepatology

22 S Greene St FL 8
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 328-1358

Chase Brexton

1111 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 837-2050 x8829

Specialty Clinic (Johns Hopkins Viral Hepatitis Center)

600 N. Wolfe St, Blalock 319
Baltimore, MD 21287
(443) 997-1900

HCV Fact Sheet - Center for disease Control and Prevention

Testing Location Finder - Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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Call 410-706-6410 

For General Information:

Call 410-706-6410

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