ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. — Onondaga County now has one of the highest rates of Hepatitis C infections in New York State.
According to ACR Health, the local numbers have tripled in recent years mainly because of injectable drug use.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of Hepatitis C infections nationwide has also tripled. Infections in people aged 20 to 29 increased 400 percent in just the last ten years.
In Onondaga County, the number of infections increased 55 percent during the same period of time.
Heptitis C is spread through the use of shared needles. To help stop that spread, ACR Health offers drug users safe and sterile syringes and disposal of used syringes free of charge.
"When they get needles from us they get an education on how to protect themselves and also we offer them to be tested for Hep C and HIV in case they've already been exposed.," said Wil Murtaugh.
Murtaugh said drug users infected with Heptitis C do have options but they need to get tested.
"The one upside to hepatitis C is you can come to us," Murtaugh said. "You can get tested and you can also get treatment and it's a medicine now you take to be cured from your body."