An estimated 32,400 people in Washington State’s King County are already infected with hepatitis C. Of those, an estimated 6,500 to 10,000 will go on to develop cirrhosis, and 1,300 will die of complications related to their hepatitis C.
If nothing is done, direct medical expenditures in King County alone would be over $85 million dollars in the next 15 years. The societal cost during that period, including loss of life years, would be over $600 million.
In response to this economic and health burden, in 2006, HEP began conducting hepatitis C and blood borne infections trainings in the King County jail system with the following objectives:
1) Education for offenders at the King County Jail and Youth Services Center
2) Support for offenders at the King County Jail and Youth Services Center upon release
Our curriculum addresses a range of issues relevant to the diverse developmental and cultural composition found in correctional populations, and includes the following:
- Modes of disease transmission, methods for prevention, including risk reduction and immunization, disease outcomes, and options for treatment
- Tools needed to avoid behaviors that result in acquisition of hepatitis, HIV, and other blood borne and sexually transmitted infections
- Resources for offenders upon release, including links with community and public health facilities
- Counseling for persons with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection regarding preventing transmission to household, sexual, and drug-use contacts, including risk reduction and condom use; these persons will also be counseled regarding ways to reduce further liver damage, including limiting alcohol and drug use