Hepatitis C infection (Hep C) is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In Ontario, about 110,000 people are living with Hep C. Roughly 20% of people don’t know they have it.
Hep C attacks your liver. Your body can try to fight it — and sometimes it can win—but the virus is very strong. Ordinary medicines like antibiotics do not kill viruses, but there are special Hep C medications that work for many people.
You can get Hep C when blood containing HCV gets in your blood. The highest-risk activity for getting Hep C is using drug equipment—needles, syringes, swabs, filters, spoons and water—that has been used by someone else. Taking care to avoid contact with materials that could have blood on them, even if you can’t see any blood, helps you stay safe.
Hepatitis C is spread when blood that has Hep C in it gets into your bloodstream. Some activities put you at high risk, others have some risk, and some have no risk.
Having unprotected sex that may involve contact with infected blood, such as fisting or sex when a woman has her period. It is easier for Hep C to be passed on during sex if someone has HIV.
No risk (no blood contact)
Anyone can get Hep C, but studies show that there are high rates in people who use and inject drugs, people living on the street, Aboriginal peoples, people in prison and immigrants from countries where there are high rates of Hep C.
Many people do not feel sick when they are first infected with Hep C. If they do, the most common early symptoms are:
We aim to improve people’s quality of life by: reducing the barriers and stigma for people living with Hepatitis C, providing equitable access to comprehensive care and services, strengthening the capacity of people with lived experience of HCV to self-advocate, creating a sustainable program, and building a healthy community through prevention, education and support.
The program comprises a team of health professionals dedicated to providing client-centred care for people with Hep C, including Primary Care Doctors, Nurses, Counsellors, Outreach Workers and Educators.
Access to people with personal experience of living with Hep C and people who have gone through Hep C treatment.
Hep C Treatment Groups
After completing an intake, the program offers treatment groups at three different sites: South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Regent Park Community Health Centre, and Sherbourne Health Centre. If you are interested in joining these groups, please talk with your health care provider.
Hep C Continuing Care
This program group is for people who are not in a treatment group because they have completed treatment, have been taken off treatment or are not eligible for treatment.