In 2013, a second CDC study showed the annual hepatitis C-related mortality surpassed the total combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases reported to the CDC, including HIV, pneumococcal disease, and tuberculosis. An estimated 72,000 Marylanders are living with chronic hepatitis C, and approximately 6,200 of those are people who inject drugs. From the Maryland Epidemiological profile, over 2,300 cases of chronic hepatitis C were reported in Baltimore City from 2016 to 2019. The syndemic of opioid use disorder and hepatitis C cause significant morbidity and mortality in Baltimore City. BCHD is working with federal, state, and local partners to improve surveillance, increase awareness, and provide accessible testing and treatment across Baltimore.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver damage. For 8 out of every 10 people infected, the virus continues to live in the body until cured with medication. After years of untreated infection, hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage, called cirrhosis, or death.
How is the virus spread?
Hepatitis C is spread when someone comes into contact with blood from an infected person. This happens most often through sharing items that may have blood on them including syringes or other drug works, tattoos with shared needles, and personal items such as razors and nail clippers. Hepatitis C is rarely spread through sex. Women who are infected with hepatitis C can pass it on their babies.
What are the symptoms?
Most people have no symptoms of hepatitis C. Getting tested is the only way to know if you have Hepatitis C. All adults should be tested for hepatitis C at least once. A blood test screens for hepatitis C antibodies. If the antibody test is positive, another blood test shows whether the virus is still in your body.
How can I protect myself?
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. To protect yourself, do not share any items that might have blood on them. Get tested, and encourage your friends and family to get tested and treated.
What is the Baltimore City Health Department doing to prevent the spread of the hepatitis C virus?
- Providing clinic and community-based testing and treatment
- Increasing public awareness of hepatitis C through a multi-faceted media campaign
- Engaging community partners who work with at-risk populations to provide education on transmission and prevention strategies
HEPATITIS C IS CURABLE. Medication taken for 8 to 12 weeks can cure your infection.
Once cured, hepatitis C will cause no further damage to your liver, and you will not spread the infection to others. Ask your health care provider about treatment or call the Baltimore City Health Department at 443-717-4078 to get connected to treatment.
Healthcare on the Spot
The Spot is a mobile clinic that provides testing and treatment for hepatitis C, as well as other services. Locations and schedules vary – please call 443-483-6150 for more information.
Linkage to Care
The Linkage to Care Team is filled with passionate and trained individuals. Our specialists can assist you in navigating the medical care system to obtain additional testing and treatment to cure your Hepatitis C. If you need any assistance getting connected to care, please contact:
Sherry Scott: 443-591-4041 or,
Emily Clark: 410-913-7917
Services offered to insured and uninsured clients!
Additional Information and Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Maryland Department of Health (MDH)
Maryland Hepatitis Strategic Plan
Contact us for more information
If you would like to speak to someone about Hepatitis C, please contact us:
- Phone – 410-396-0176 (Druid) or 410-396-9410 (Eastern)
Center for Disease Control - Hepatitis C Kills More Americans than Any Other Infectious Disease.