Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This study recruited individuals in San Diego who had injected drugs in the previous 6 months. All were asked whether they had been tested for HCV previously and the result of the test; they were then tested for HCV antibodies.
Of the 540 participants, 148 (27%) were anti-HCV positive. Of these, only 46 (32%) were aware that they were infected and only 16 (35%) of those who were aware of their infection reported having been offered treatment previously.
In multivariable analysis, factors that were associated with awareness of HCV infection included older age, being tested for HIV previously, and being in drug treatment previously.”
Now that we have very effective therapies for this deadly disease, more needs to be done to identify individuals with HCV and link them with treatment. Providers of drug treatment appear to play a valuable role in screening these individuals and can also help get them connected with HCV care.
Collier MG, Bhaurla SK, Cuevas-Mota J, et al. Awareness of HCV infection among persons who inject drugs in San Diego, California. Am J Public Health. 2015;106(2):302–303.
Source: Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence – March/April 2015