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Public Health

Viral Hepatitis Prevention

Men who have sex with men (MSM) and injection drug users (IDUs) are at high risk for contracting viral hepatitis (VH). However, in 1999 the County of San Diego’s Transmitted Disease and Hepatitis Control Program found that only around 16 percent of MSM and six percent of IDUs seen at county clinics had been vaccinated for Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B. Hepatitis C, which is primarily transmitted through blood, is most commonly contracted when IDUs share syringes or their “works.”  The second most common means of transmission is having sex with an infected person.

In an effort to target the spread of VH within these two high risk groups, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) funded the Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) with a five-year grant to increase knowledge and help change attitudes and practices among the MSM and IDU populations.

FHCSD incorporated VH curriculum into their existing programs which already targeted MSM and IDU. The programs received the enhanced content included: In the Mix, targeting young MSM of color; Gay Men’s Health Program providing outreach, individual and group level interventions to MSM and IDU to reduce high-risk behaviors; and Steps to Change, which focuses on IDU through outreach, Group Level Intervention, and Prevention Case Management.

The Criminal Justice Research Division wascontracted by FHCSD to conduct the formative, process, and impact evaluations of the project. SANDAG documented outreach efforts, focus groups, number and types of interventions. Client risk assessments and knowledge tests were used to determine if the program reached its target population and met its stated outcomes. SANDAG received approximately $125,000 for this five-year endeavor, which was completed in September 2008.

Project Manager

Sandy Keaton, Senior Criminal Justice Research Analyst
Phone: (619) 699-6933, Email: sandy.keaton@sandag.org

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or pio@sandag.org.