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  • Perceptions of drug users regarding Hepatitis C screening and care: a qualitative study

    Posted on June 21st, 2013 TimB No comments

    Illicit drug users have a high prevalence of HCV and represent the majority of newly infected persons in the U.S. Despite the availability of effective HCV treatment, few drug users have been evaluated or treated for HCV. Racial and ethnic minorities have a higher incidence and prevalence of HCV and higher HCV-related mortality. Factors contributing to poor engagement in care are incompletely understood. The study concludes  Drug users perceived a paucity of settings for self-initiated HCV testing and poor provider patient communication at test sites and during medical encounters. Notably, drug users reported having an unclear understanding about the meaning of a positive HCV test, the health implications of HCV infection, the importance of clinical evaluations and monitoring, and of treatment options for HCV. Efforts to improve the delivery of clinical messages about HCV infection for drug users at test settings and clinical encounters are needed.

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  • IV Drugs Users on Opioid Substitution Respond to Antiviral Treatment for HCV

    Posted on May 13th, 2010 TimB No comments

    Intravenous (IV) drug users who are on opioid substitution and infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be successfully treated with antiviral therapy, researchers reported.

    Intravenous drug use is a main cause of HCV transmission in Western countries, but such patients are sometimes excluded from antiviral treatment because of concerns regarding low adherence and response rates in treatment, she said.

    Dr. Anagnostou and colleagues evaluate HCV treatment outcomes among IV drug users receiving opioid substitution treatment with methadone or buprenorphine at 4 government-funded clinics between 2002 and 2008.

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  • Best infection control practices for intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular needle injections

    Posted on January 20th, 2010 TimB No comments

    In transitional and developing countries where unnecessary injections are common, the average number of health care injections per person was estimated to be 3.7 per year (this includes all health care injections, including those given to diabetics for administering insulin) . Many injections, as well as being unnecessary, are also unsafe. Each year, the reuse of injection equipment may cause 20 million infections with hepatitis B virus (HBV), 2 million infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and 250 000 infections with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) worldwide These chronic infections lead to a high burden of morbidity and mortality.

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  • The Washington Needle Depot: fitting healthcare to injection drug users rather than injection drug users to healthcare: moving from a syringe exchange to syringe distribution model

    Posted on January 11th, 2010 TimB No comments

    Needle exchange programs chase political as well as epidemiological dragons, carrying within them both implicit moral and political goals. In the exchange model of syringe distribution, injection drug users (IDUs) must provide used needles in order to receive new needles. Distribution and retrieval are coexistent in the exchange model. Likewise, limitations on how many needles can be received at a time compel addicts to have multiple points of contact with professionals where the virtues of treatment and detox are impressed upon them.
    The centre of gravity for syringe distribution programs needs to shift from needle exchange to needle distribution, which provides unlimited access to syringes. This paper provides a case study of the Washington Needle Depot, a program operating under the syringe distribution model, showing that the distribution and retrieval of syringes can be separated with effective results. Further, the experience of IDUs is utilized, through paid employment, to provide a vulnerable population of people with clean syringes to prevent HIV and HCV.

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  • The Washington Needle Depot: fitting healthcare to injection drug users rather than injection drug users to healthcare: moving from a syringe exchange to syringe distribution model

    Posted on January 5th, 2010 TimB No comments

    Needle exchange programs chase political as well as epidemiological dragons, carrying within them both implicit moral and political goals. In the exchange model of syringe distribution, injection drug users (IDUs) must provide used needles in order to receive new needles. Distribution and retrieval are coexistent in the exchange model. Likewise, limitations on how many needles can be received at a time compel addicts to have multiple points of contact with professionals where the virtues of treatment and detox are impressed upon them.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Phenotypic Characterization of Lymphocytes in HCV/HIV Co-infected Patients

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 TimB No comments

    In this study, the proportions of regulatory, native, and memory T cells, along with chemokine receptor expression, were measured in co-infected and mono-infected patients to determine if there is an alteration in the phenotypic profile of lymphocytes in these patients.

    The findings of this study provide new information on the T-cell immunophenotype in HCV/HIV co-infected patients when compared to those infected with HCV alone, and may provide insight into why cell-mediated immune responses are diminished during HCV infection.

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  • UK government advisors call for major expansion of needle exchange

    Posted on April 20th, 2009 inef No comments

    UK government advisers call for needle exchange to be greatly expanded to curb a worrying rise in hepatitis C infections. The aim is a new set of equipment for every injection. To help, methadone programmes should provide access to injecting equipment and vice versa.

    Hepatitis C is a significant public health issue. It has been estimated that in 2003 in England and Wales there were around 190,000 individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is likely that over 80% of current HCV infections are due to injecting drugs and that around 50% of injecting drug users (IDU) in the UK are infected with HCV.

    Moreover, of those IDU who are infected, approximately half may be unaware that they are HCV positive. It is likely that HCV prevalence fell during the early and mid 1990s, but the trends have now reversed and among recent IDU HCV prevalence almost doubled between 1998 and 2007.

    The full report can be found here

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