Heroin epidemic pushing up hepatitis C infections in US

Heroin epidemic pushing up hepatitis C infections in US

Hepatitis C incidences have jumped by as much as 300% from 2010 to 2015.

"Reported cases of acute HCV infection increased more than 2.9-fold from 2010 through 2015, rising annually throughout this period", the report reads.

This high death rate can be partially attributed to the fact that many Americans with hepatitis C may not even realize they have the disease at all.

"Injection drug use is the primary risk factor for new HCV infections", the researchers write, referring to the disease by its initials and recommending that lawmakers "create and strengthen public health laws" to fight the disease.

The report also reviewed the comprehensiveness of laws related to preventing Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs.

According to Reuters, the report noted that 18 states have no laws pertaining to prevention in place, while Maine, Nevada and Utah had the most comprehensive programs including syringe exchange without limitations. He says they should also use syringe exchange programs, though there are only about half a dozen in the state.

People with hepatitis C often have no symptoms, so they are unaware of their infection.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the nation's drug problem recently when he said, "I really believe this epidemic of opioid abuse is a crisis, it's ravaging our communities". This then increases the risk of infants being infected as well.

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"Many people who are infected don't know they are infected", said Patrick. Last summer, CDC reported that widespread drug abuse led hepatitis C diagnoses in young women to rise almost 10 times faster in Kentucky than across the country.

First, it's simply hard to identify and then treat people who inject drugs, said Chung, who did not participate in the CDC research.

"We found that rural and Appalachian counties were particularly impacted by the virus", Patrick said. The CDC attributes this to the fact that injection drug use is increasing as the opioid epidemic ravages the United States.

Besides living in rural areas, moms with hepatitis C were more likely to be single and to smoke than others.

HCV is said to be the most common form of hepatitis in the United States, which accounted for about 19,000 deaths in 2013. "By testing, curing, and preventing hepatitis C, we can protect generations of Americans from needless suffering and death", Jonathan Mermin, MD, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention said in the press release.

The complaint says that only five inmates were treated with the lifesaving medications. While Medicaid-based payors are frequently footing the bill for IV drug users, reimbursement restrictions vary within states and between states.

When they first appeared on the market, these treatments made headlines and garnered criticism for their high price tags.

Coordinated effort is needed to get patients plugged into care so they beat their addictions and avoid becoming reinfected with hepatitis C. The largest spike in reported cases was reported in 20- to 29-year-olds.

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