Date of Graduation

Winter 12-18-2015

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major global public health problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects 3.2 million Americans and 500 million people from a global standpoint (CDC, 2012). HCV contributes to significant morbidity and mortality with about 1 million deaths due to liver disease (World Hepatitis Alliance, 2010). Chronic liver disease has origins ranging from acquired, infectious, toxic and metabolic causes. Long-term consequences include cancer, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and liver failure. Given the substantial data attributable to HCV-related liver disease, it is necessary to develop an HCV-related public health plan for the prevention of new HCV infections. The source of HCV infection includes transfusion of blood or blood products from unscreened donors, exposure to blood through the use of contaminated and inadequately sterilized instruments and needles used in medical and "traditional" medicine, persons who participate in high-risk sexual practices, or sexual interactions with HCV-infected persons. The relative contribution of these various sources of infection has not yet been defined with population-based epidemiological studies. Many do not seek care because they don't know they are infected; the incubation period for HCV can be decades long (Kamal, 2008). It is difficult to prevent and control chronic liver disease due to the contributing factors. There is also lack of knowledge and awareness about HCV treatment, which is a major barrier to those already diagnosed. Future challenges to public health practice will be significant as more adults are diagnosed with HCV.