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HIV and Hepatitis C

What are HIV and Hepatitis C?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS. There is currently no effective cure for HIV, but with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is spread mainly through contact with the blood of a person who has HCV, such as by sharing needles and other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs. There is currently no vaccine to prevent it, but with proper treatment HCV can be cured.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 21% of people with HIV in the United States also have HCV.

How Do They Spread?

HIV is usually spread through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. HIV is NOT spread by hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, or closed-mouth kissing with someone who has HIV.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with an infected person's blood, such as by sharing needles and other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs. HCV is NOT spread through casual contact, like coughing, sneezing, hugging or drinking out of the same glass as an infected individual.

Should I Get Tested?

The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. People at higher risk should get tested more often.

The CDC recommends that all adults 18 years or older be tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime. In addition, hepatitis C screening is recommended for all pregnant women during each pregnancy and recommended that people with risk factors, including people who inject drugs, be tested regularly.

HIV and Viral Hepatitis Service Providers Map


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HIV Testing

You can view a list of HIV testing sites in Pennsylvania or visit gettested.cdc.gov to find a testing location near you. If you're interested in home testing, you can buy an HIV self-test at a pharmacy or online. Additionally, home tests are available from getmyhivtest.com. You will be asked to read the information on the website and answer a few questions in order to receive an FDA-approved, OraQuick home HIV test kit mailed to you.

Hepatitis C Testing

Located in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas? View more resources:

Additional Resources