Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Helen Swede, Bonnie G. McRee, Richard S. Cho

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Open Access


Background. Homeless individuals are at high risk of contracting the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) given that many use intravenous drugs or have a prison history, common risk factors for the disease. Although there is no vaccine, it is curable.

Methods. This cross-sectional study surveyed residents (n=120) of five homeless shelters in Connecticut to understand their screening willingness and knowledge about HCV.

Results. Those who tested previously (OR=0.46, 95% CI 0.23-0.90) and those who had never spent time in prison (OR=0.39, 95% CI 0.15-0.98) were less willing to be screened. Most did not recognize HCV symptoms and risk factors.

Conclusions. The study revealed that 12.5% of those surveyed have HCV and 60% had been to prison. Although 67.8% indicated HCV knowledge, the mean grade on the quiz was 48.6%.

Discussion. 92.5% had been to a doctor within the past year, yet HCV and screening do not appear to have been discussed.

Major Advisor

Helen Swede