Prevention

HCV Prevention - Provider with patient

Hepatitis C (HCV) is primarily transmitted through exposure to the blood of an infected person, although it is sometimes transmitted through sexual contact.

Sharing needles or syringes, sharing personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, etc. as well as getting tattoos or piercings outside a professional and licensed setting are all ways that HCV can be passed from one person to another. While sexual transmission is rare, that risk is increased for those who have multiple sex partners, have a sexually transmitted disease, engage in rough sex, or are infected with HIV.

Most people who have HCV are unaware that they are infected because they don’t look or feel sick, but they can still transmit the virus to others. There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Practicing the following can prevent HCV infection:

  • Never share needles, syringes and other injection drug use equipment for any reason, and dispose of used sharps properly.
  • Get clean syringes and syringe disposal services through Vermont’s Syringe Exchange Programs.
  • Do not share personal items (razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes).
  • If you are pregnant, get tested for HCV infection before your baby is born.
  • If you are a health care or public safety worker, always practice universal precautions in healthcare settings.
  • Make sure all tattoos and piercings are performed by licensed professionals.
  • Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B.
  • If you have more than one sexual partner, or have a sexual partner that is infected with HCV, use latex condoms correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Free Condoms

Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of STDs and HIV transmission. Free condoms are available at all 12 Health Department locations across Vermont.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) sites offer free condoms.

Here are additional sites where you will find a wide variety of free condoms and lube. These sites are listed alphabetically by town/city.

Bennington

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont
PO Box 4264
Bennington, VT 05201
(802) 447-8007

Brattleboro

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont
15 Grove Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301
800) 294-4443 or (802) 254-8263
 
Comprehensive Care Clinic
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301
(802) 257-8860

Burlington

Community Health Ctr. of Burlington
617 Riverside Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 864-6309
 
Comprehensive Care Clinic
UVMC - Infectious Disease Unit
111 Colchester Ave. East Pavilion, Level 5
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 847-4594
 
HowardCenter - Safe Recovery
45 Clarke Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 488-6067
 
Outright Vermont (CO)
241 North Winooski Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 865-9677
 
Pride Center of Vermont
225 South Champlain Street, Suite 12
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 860-7812
 
Vermont CARES
187 St. Paul Street
Burlington, VT  05401
(802) 863-2437 or (800) 649-2437

Lebanon, NH

HIV/HCV Resource Center
2 Blacksmith Street
Lebanon, NH 03766
(603) 448-8887 or (800) 816-2220

Montpelier

Vermont CARES  
29 Main Street, Suite #14
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 371-6222
 
Vermont People with AIDS Coalition
P. O. Box 11
73 Main Street, Suite #401
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 229-5754 or (800) 698-8792

Rutland

Comprehensive Care Clinic
Rutland Regional Medical Center
Social Work Department
160 Allen Road
Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 747-3700
 
Vermont CARES
1 Scale Avenue, Howe Center
Building #3 Suite #310
Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 775-5884

St. Johnsbury

Comprehensive Care Clinic
Northeast VT Regional Medical Center
1290 Hospital Drive
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
(802) 751-7603
 
Vermont CARES
1091 Hospital Drive, Suite #1
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
(802) 748-9061

More information on condoms and other information on preventing HIV and STDs

Syringe Service Programs

Sterile syringes are available at pharmacies throughout Vermont without a prescription, although individual pharmacists may choose not to sell them. Syringe Service Programs make free syringes available in several communities around Vermont. Possession of syringes on the part of Syringe Service Program clients is not in violation of our state’s paraphernalia law. See below for location and contact information.

AIDS Project of Southern Vermont

15 Grove Street
Brattleboro, VT 05302
Hours: Tuesdays 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Tel: 802-254-4444

HowardCenter Safe Recovery / Green Mountain Needle Co-op

Safe Recovery Support and Education
45 Clarke Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm (closed 12 - 1)
Tel: 802-488-6067

Vermont CARES

Rutland Syringe Exchange
1 Scale Avenue, Building 3, Suite 310
Rutland, VT 05701
Hours: Wednesdays 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tel: 802-775-5884
 
St. Johnsbury Needle Exchange
1091 Hospital Drive
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Hours: Monday and Thursday 11:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.
Tel: 802-748-9061

HIV/HCV Resource Center

SEP through the Good Neighbor Clinic
70 North Main Street
White River Junction, Vermont
Tel: 800-816-2220 or 603-448-8887

Vermont Operating Guidelines for Organized Community-based Safer Injection Support Programs

Vermont statutes related to Syringe Exchange Programs: