Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use

"Hepatitis C is associated with more deaths in the United States than 60 other infectious diseases reported to CDC combined. Despite curative hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies and known preventive measures to interrupt transmission, new HCV infections have increased in recent years (1,2). Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for new HCV infections (2). One potential strategy to decrease the prevalence of HCV is to create and strengthen public health laws and policies aimed specifically at reducing transmission risks among persons who inject drugs."

State Policies Regarding Disease Prevention and Syringe Service Programs

"Eighteen states had laws that were categorized as least comprehensive related to the prevention of HCV transmission among persons who inject drugs. In particular, these 18 states had no laws authorizing a syringe exchange program, decriminalizing possession and distribution of syringes and needles, or allowing the retail sale of syringes without a prescription.

Viral Hepatitis Types and Symptoms

"Viral hepatitis is caused by infection with any of at least five distinct viruses: hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis D virus (HDV), and hepatitis E virus (HEV). Most viral hepatitis infections in the United States are attributable to HAV, HBV, and HCV. All three of these unrelated viruses can produce an acute illness characterized by nausea, malaise, abdominal pain and jaundice, although many of these acute infections are asymptomatic or cause only mild disease.

Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use in Australia

Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use in Australia "Approximately 83 per cent of HCV infections have resulted from unsafe injecting drug use practices. In Australia in 2006 it was estimated that approximately 264,000 people had been exposed to HCV and had HCV antibodies with around 197,000 living with chronic hepatitis C. The estimated number of new cases of HCV infection has declined from 16,000 per annum in 2001 to 10,000 in 2005. The majority (65 per cent) of people with HCV are aged between 20 and 39 years and 35 per cent of national notifications of HCV are in women.