Hepatitis C Elimination Program

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) data, by the rate of Hepatitis C Virus (HC) carriers Georgia is regarded as a country with high prevalence of HCV. In April 2015, with the assistance from donor organizations, the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, launched a nationwide Hepatitis C elimination program. The program aims to reduce Hepatitis C Virus-related morbidity and mortality rates, to prevent and control the emergence of new cases of HCV, as well as to ensure treatment access for HCV-infected individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention stand as Georgia’s partners in this program.

 

Georgia was the first country where the population was gratuitously handed over costly medications for treatment of Hepatitis C virus with the assistance from the Health Ministry and its international partners. It was an unprecedented project for the country.

 

In February 2017, the Center for Mental Health and Prevention of Addiction LLC joined the State Program for Elimination of Hepatitis C, thus becoming the state program implementer. 

 

The services offered at our Center are available to any individual concerned. Upon producing an identification document, a person can be tested for Hepatitis C free of charge. Examination is done through a rapid simple test envisaged by the screening component. If tested positive, a person will be interviewed by a specialist and further tested for HIV-infection.

 

Beneficiaries of the methadone substitution therapy program, who are willing to take a therapy course, undergo diagnostic test, as well Hepatitis C Virus Quantitative Test (HCV RNA) and genotype determination test (HCVG), done with the assistance of the National  Center for Disease Control and Public Health. 

 

What is Hepatitis C?

 

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver diseases that is transmitted primarily through exposure to infected blood. It is the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer. Hepatitis C goes on without any noticeable symptoms, often manifesting itself several years after a person gets infected with the virus. Consequently, Hepatitis C-infected persons learn about their disease when liver is already damaged by the virus.

 

What are the most common ways of transmission of viral Hepatitis C?

 

  • exposure to infected blood in case of impaired skin integrity;
  • sharing of syringe/needle;
  • use of non-sterile equipment (during dental and other medical procedures, or nail treatment(manicure/pedicure)/ tattooing/ piercing);
  • via transfusion of blood or transplantation of organs from Hepatitis C infected person; 
  • sharing household items that may be exposed to infected blood (e.g. razor blade, toothbrush and other sharp objects);
  • through sexual contact (probability of transmission estimated at 3-5%);
  • perinatal transmission--mother-to-child transmission during delivery (4-7%)

 

The following individuals fall into a high-risk group of Hepatitis C:

 

  • injection drug users;
  • family members of Hepatitis C-infected person;
  • healthcare personnel with occupational exposure to blood or components thereof  
  • infants born to HCV-infected women
  • individuals who have received blood transfusion or organ transplants.

Early diagnosis and timely treatment gives the best chance of a cure. 

 

Hepatitis C is curable!