Hepatitis Education Project

Hepatitis Education Project

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Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) is a Seattle-based Correctional Health Program dedicated to providing hepatitis and bloodborne infection education to incarcerated people. Classes are given at the main intake facilities for men and women entering the Washington State Department of Corrections and 11 other state prisons and work camps. Their 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 the acquisition of viral hepatitis, HIV, and other bloodborne and sexually-transmitted infections; Resources for formerly incarcerated individuals upon release, including links with the community and public health facilities; Counseling for persons with chronic HBV or HCV infection regarding prevention 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. They also have a project SHIELD (Self Help in Eliminating Life-threatening Diseases) which is an evidence-based intervention to decrease the risk of acquiring HIV supported by the Centers for Disease Control. Staff at WA DOC collaborated with the HEP to adapt the SHIELD curriculum for the correctional setting and incorporated risk reduction for viral hepatitis alongside HIV to be more applicable to the environment. One SHIELD “cycle” includes a total of eighteen hours of training given in six three-hour sessions.

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