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HCV and HBV spreading more slowly among injection drug users in San Francisco
Date:9/5/2007

Injection drug users are still at a very high risk of acquiring hepatitis C (HCV) and hepatitis B (HBV); however, needle-sharing is less common, and users do not become infected as quickly as they did in the past, according to a new study in the September issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology).

Both HCV and HBV raise the risk of liver cancer and other life-threatening liver disease and past studies have shown that most injection drug users became infected with both viruses soon after they take up the habit. To address this danger, groups have implemented interventions such as needle exchange programs for at-risk populations. Recently, researchers sought to determine what effect such interventions may have had, by determining the current prevalence and patterns of acquisition of those diseases among injection drug users. The investigation was led by Fan-Chen Tseng and Thomas R. OBrien of the National Cancer Institute, and Brian R. Edlin of Weill Cornell Medical Colleges Center for the Study of Hepatitis C and the former Director of the Urban Health Study at the University of California, San Francisco.

They used data from the Urban Health Study, which recruited injection drug users in the San Francisco Bay area from 1986 to 2005. That study collected demographic information along with blood samples which were analyzed for seroprevalence of blood-borne infections. Tseng and colleagues focused on HCV and HBV antibody prevalence in users who participated between 1998 and 2000 and compared them to those of users who participated in 1987.

Of the 2,296 drug users included in the Urban Health Study between 1998 and 2000, 91 percent had antibody to HCV and 80 perce
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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