But even among people with access to health care, including people who reported specific contact with health care providers, thousands of people went unvaccinated, Ladak said. The study identifies places where improved vaccine delivery would make a substantial difference for instance when people are tested for HIV, such as at the doctor's office, in a hospital or clinic, and especially in jail.
For those infected as adults, hepatitis B does not always result in persistent infection and chronic liver disease, but it is especially likely to do so among people infected with HIV. Such co-infections are common because many of the risk factors for contracting either virus are the same.
"In persons visiting [HIV-testing] locations there was a high prevalence of people who had not received the vaccine," said Ladak, a Brown public health graduate. "One of the areas that really stuck out was jails and prisons. Given that many states have mandates to vaccinate incarcerated individuals, you wonder why in so many of these prisons people have not received vaccinations."
Ladak noted that the new study's figures from 2007 closely mirror similar research published in 2000, suggesting that despite widespread awareness among public health officials that vaccinations have been lacking among adults, there has not been clear progress.
Calls to do better
The study lends additional support to the urging of the Institute of Medicine, which in a 2010 report emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities to vaccinate people for hepatitis B and C. The report suggested that officials have not devoted enough resources to vaccination programs, perhaps because the infections sometimes don't present any symptoms, as a reason for the con
|Contact: David Orenstein|