HCV Screening Tips
Outreach Staff and Volunteers: General Information.
The Caring Ambassadors Program is providing this information to help you host a successful hepatitis C screening event.
The information is based on our experience hosting outdoor screening events. However, each event is different and you will need to customize your procedures according to the venue, length of the event, target audience, and other factors.
We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Outreach Staff and Volunteers: General Information
OVERVIEW FOR STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
- Provide information about how many volunteers will be present on specific dates and times.
- Provide the name(s) of who is coordinating on-site operations during the event.
- Provide staff/volunteers job assignments, e.g., outreach, screeners, or testers.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR OUTREACH AND SCREENING
- Get people to stop, listen, and learn!
- Get as many people talking as possible so we can test those with potential exposures(s).
- General Public: Pass out free educational materials to passersby; tell them free hepatitis C screening is being offered.
- Examples of opening lines:
- Would you like a free health screening today?
- We have free information on hepatitis C today.
- We're offering free testing for hepatitis C.
- The free screening for hepatitis C only takes a few minutes; it's great peace of mind.
- Follow-up comments to keep the conversation going (try to get him/her to take a look at the possible sources of HCV exposure):
- Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver disease.
- Hepatitis C is very common. One in 50 Americans have been infected with the virus, but most don't know it.
- Most people with hepatitis C don't feel sick.
- You could have hepatitis C and not even know it.
- Hepatitis C is spread by contact with infected blood.
- People can have hepatitis C for 10 or 20 years without ever having symptoms.
- Hepatitis C is not something your doctor would routinely check for, even on an annual physical.
- There's no vaccine for hepatitis C.
- Here are some of the possible sources of exposure to the hepatitis C virus; do any of these apply to you? (Hand the client a list of potential exposures or just begin going over what's on the assessment form you are using. Remember, some people have limited literacy, which is made even more limited with the added stress of having someone watching you.)
ONCE THE CLIENT HAS LOOKED AT OR DISCUSSED POSSIBLE SOURCES OF HEPATITIS C EXPOSURE
- Discuss any questions the client may have about the possible sources of HCV exposure.
- Show the client the list of questions on the assessment form (they are not filling anything out yet, you're just trying to determine if he/she is a candidate for testing).
- Did any of these apply to you? If response is "No."
- If none of these apply to you, the probability that you've ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus is very small. We usually don't recommend testing for people with no known source of exposure to the virus.
- IMPORTANT: Be sensitive to the client who does not acknowledge any known source of potential exposure, but still wants to be tested. He/she may not want to disclose past behaviors that may have caused exposure to HCV.
- If someone expresses a desire to be tested even though they deny risk factors, TEST!
- Did any of these apply to you? If response is "Yes."
- I would recommend that you be screened for hepatitis C today. It'll take just a few minutes of your time.
CLIENTS TO BE SCREENED
- Take the client to the screening area (if you are not already there).
- Hand the client the screening and consent form. Show him/her the self-assessment and ask him/her to fill it out (by checking the appropriate boxes).
- Invite the client to ask questions.
- You need to invite people to ask questions so they feel comfortable doing so - especially important for people who have limited literacy, difficulty seeing, etc. If someone appears to be struggling, offer to read the questions to him/her.
- Ask client to read Informed Consent and sign the form. Again, invite questions.
- Be sure to always protect the client's information from public view.