Arizona Hepatitis C Program
The Arizona Hepatitis C Program (AzHCP) began in 2000, when the state
legislature awarded funds from the Arizona tobacco tax to the Arizona Department
of Health Services (ADHS) for hepatitis C surveillance and prevention. Arizona
is estimated to have a hepatitis C (HCV) population of over 100,000. Of these,
approximately 30,000 are not aware of their status. This may be due in part
because individuals are often asymptomatic until 20 years after their initial
infection. With much of Arizona’s HCV infected population unknown, prevention
and control is important.
AzHCP initiatives focus on surveillance, education, vaccination, and
The AzHCP has established a registry to track the incidence, distribution
and trends of HCV in Arizona. This resource has been valuable in identifying
populations and community needs when planning program activities. ADHS receives
around 8,000 HCV positive reports per year; 75% of which are confirmed HCV-infected
individuals. As a result, the total number of reported HCV positive individuals
has grown to more than 70,000.
The AzHCP provides education to health care professionals as well as
information, resources and referrals to infected individuals regarding disease
prevention, transmission, management and treatment. To date, AzHCP staff has
trained approximately 1,326 professionals through our "Train the Trainer"
program on hepatitis C. Education is also provided to those with hepatitis C
through telephone counseling, interactive workshops, and educational materials.
In addition, the program participates in community and correctional facility
health fairs and other events to increase awareness of hepatitis C.
In order to improve the health and quality of life of those with hepatitis
C, the AzHCP has provided local and county health departments with free
hepatitis A and B vaccine for infected individuals who are uninsured or
underinsured. Due to limited resources, the vaccines are available while
supplies last on a "first come, first serve" basis. Additional federal funding
through the Adult Viral Hepatitis B Vaccination Initiative has recently allowed
this program to be expanded to include various programs and clinics that serve
at-risk individuals, including those who inject drugs and/or present at STD
In 2007, the AzHCP integrated their services with ADHS HIV/AIDS and STD
Programs to form a new office. The Office of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis C Services
(OHSHS) provides services and education for individuals touched by HIV, sexually
transmitted disease and viral hepatitis. For example, the OHSHS has partnered
with organizations in the community to provide free HCV and HIV testing, as well
as hepatitis A and B vaccinations. The AzHCP also maintains its focus on
individuals infected with or affected by hepatitis C and their healthcare
providers through surveillance, education, prevention and control activities.