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Harm reduction
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Perinatal Related

New Mexico Hepatitis Prevention Program
Program name: New Mexico Hepatitis Prevention Program 
Population served: IDU, MSM, STD, commercial sex workers, HBsAg-positive women and others at risk for viral hepatitis infection
Eligibility: High-risk populations accessing services at public health STD clinics, syringe exchange sites, HIV C&T sites, and public health outreach events, HBsAG-positive pregnant women
Region served: State of New Mexico
Funding: State funds and 317 funds
Program started: 2001
Number of clients: See below
Contact: Melissa Heinz
New Mexico Department of Health
1190 St. Francis Drive
Runnels Bldg., Room S-1206
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
Phone: (505) 827-2507
Fax: (505) 476-3637
Email: Karen.Gonzales@state.nm.us
Website: www.healthlinknm.org/nmhepline
IAC is not responsible for content found on other websites.

The New Mexico Hepatitis Prevention Program works collaboratively with the HIV Prevention Program, STD Prevention Program, and Harm reduction Program to provide hepatitis testing, vaccine and education services to high risk populations. HIV Counseling and Testing risk assessment forms have been revised to include hepatitis testing as a reason for seeking services. Daily intake forms for syringe exchange programs have also been revised to detail whether hepatitis testing or immunizations were administered.

In 2006, a Protocol for Viral Hepatitis Testing and Immunization was revised to define high-risk populations and standardize delivery of service. Under this protocol, people at highest risk for contracting hepatitis are defined as intravenous drug users (IDU), men who have sex with men (MSM) or bisexual men, sexual contacts of MSM or IDU, persons who share crack/meth pipes or intranasal inhalant equipment, hepatitis C positive individuals, persons who are chronically or acutely infected with hepatitis B virus, persons from endemic areas, persons who are HIV positive, persons who received blood transfusions or organ transplants before July 1992, heterosexual persons with multiple sex partners, persons who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, and sexual and household contacts of who have been exposed to acute or chronic cases of hepatitis B.

The Hepatitis Prevention Program purchases and distributes adult hepatitis A and B vaccine, Twinrix®(hepatitis A and B combination vaccine), and HBIG to high-risk populations seen in public health STD clinics, syringe exchange sites, community health care centers, and to support public health outreach to county detention facilities, substance use treatment centers, commercial sex workers, and special events. Approximately, 2500 people are vaccinated against hepatitis B virus and 2100 people are vaccinated against hepatitis A virus.

In support of these efforts the Immunization Program hired 3 contract nurses to support the increase of hepatitis testing and immunization at SEP sites and at public health outreach to county detention facilities and substance use treatment facilities.

New Mexico Epidemiology and Response Division continues to develop and maintain a Hepatitis C Registry and track hepatitis A and B cases. Currently there are between 28,000-32,000 people chronically infected with hepatitis C in New Mexico and approximately 5,000 chronically infected with HBV.

Through a $2.8 million Legislative allocation in 2005-2006, the Hepatitis Prevention Program entered into a partnership with the UNM Health Sciences Center, NM Corrections Department, and NM Primary Care Association to develop a model for providing chronic disease management services at primary care sites for HCV infected persons in rural or underserved communities of New Mexico. This model utilizes video-conferencing technology to provide specialty care across a spectrum of areas including gastroenterology, psychology, and substance use disorders. The Hepatitis C Initiative facilitates services including pharmaceutical treatment, where indicated, as well as case management for co-morbid conditions and substance use disorders. Currently there are 19 in operation throughout New Mexico.

The Hepatitis Prevention Program is actively engaged in public awareness initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of hepatitis C among public and private health care providers, harm reduction workers, incarcerated persons, community activists, and newly diagnosed persons. Hepatitis 101 and hepatitis C Counseling and Testing trainings are provided to organizations that are interested in an overview of viral hepatitis with a primary focus on hepatitis C disease process, transmission routes, prevention messages, and counseling techniques.

In 2007, the Hepatitis Program was awarded 317 funds to expand the adult hepatitis vaccine program and also begin new projects in three detention facilities throughout the state. New Mexico currently has public health offices located within detention facilities in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Other facilities are provided hepatitis testing and vaccine services, HIV testing, counseling, and educational services with the support of local and public health educators, public health nurses, and contract nurses.

Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention

Since the beginning of 2006, there have been 20 birthing hospitals and OB/GYN offices educated on the importance of testing pregnant women for HBsAg and administering HBIG and the hepatitis B vaccine birth dose to infants born to HBsAG positive mothers. An educational packet containing a CD-ROM and hand out materials was developed to assist public health hepatitis B nurse coordinators educate hospital staff and leadership. The New Mexico Medical Association and the New Mexico Pediatric Association has endorsed the new CDC guidelines for perinatal case management including HBIG and hepatitis B birth dose administration.

For more information on hepatitis testing, vaccination, treatment, and other services contact the Department of Health at: 1-888-DOH-HEPC (1-888-364-4372).

          Hepatitis Prevention Programs

444 North Capitol Street, NW • Suite 339 • Washington D.C. 20001 • (202) 434-8090