Points West Syringe Services Program

Jefferson County Public Health

645 Parfet Street

Lakewood, CO 80215

(303) 239-7078

HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C Prevention

HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C Prevention

HIV, Hep B, and Hep C are blood-borne diseases, meaning they can be transmitted through blood. Injection drug use may increase one’s risk through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment (e.g., cookers, rinse water, cotton).


To decrease your risk for HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C, individuals should visit their nearby syringe access program. Through syringe access programs, people who inject drugs can access new syringes and supplies, as well as testing for HIV and Hepatitis C, and vaccinations for Hepatitis B. Read below for more information:

 

HIV

  • Stands for human immunodeficiency virus.

  • Can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated.

  • Transmitted when blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk from a person infected with HIV
    enters the body of someone who is not infected.

  • No effective cure currently exists, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.

  • The medicine used to treat HIV can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV,
    keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of transmitting the virus to others.

  • There is now a pill (PrEP) for people to take to decrease their chances of becoming infected with HIV.

  • Points West participants can be tested during their syringe services visit at no cost.

  • If you already know you have HIV and need help finding HIV treatment or support services, please
    contact the clinic at 303-239-7078.

 

Hepatitis B

  • Liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).

  • Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.

  • For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection.

  • Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.

  • The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.

 

Hepatitis C

  • Liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

  • Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus.

  • Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other
    equipment to inject drugs.

  • For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become
    infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a
    serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of
    infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they do not have symptoms.
    There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors
    that can spread the disease.

  • Medications are now available to treat and cure Hepatitis C.

  • Points West participants can be tested during their syringe program visits at no cost.

  • If you already know you have Hepatitis C and need help finding treatment and support services,
    please contact the clinic at 303-239-7078.