HCV Current Initiative: Addressing the National Epidemics of Prescription Opioid misuse and Hepatitis C through Unique Partnerships

By Dominique Saunders, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Sarah Knopf-Amelung, Project Manager, Mid-America ATTC, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies - See more at: https://blog.aids.gov/2015/09/hcv-current-initiative-addressing-the-national-epidemics-of-prescription-opioid-misuse-and-hepatitis-c-through-unique-partnerships.

Recently, there has been a spotlight on America‚Äôs prescription opioid misuse and overdose epidemics.  However, too often, people remain unaware of the related hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an estimated 150% increase in new HCV infections from 2010 to 2013 and, further, that most of the new infections were associated with injection drug use. An analysis of state and national data indicate that a large proportion of new HCV infections are occurring in young people (<30 years of age) in rural and suburban areas who use oral prescription opioid analgesics before transitioning to injecting. - See more at: https://blog.aids.gov/2015/09/hcv-current-initiative-addressing-the-national-epidemics-of-prescription-opioid-misuse-and-hepatitis-c-through-unique-partnerships.

At the same time, recent years have seen advances that have revolutionized the field of hepatitis C. Groundbreaking treatments with cure rates as high as 90-100% are now available.  Preventive screenings without cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act make HCV screening more accessible for many people.  And the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan increases coordination across federal programs and includes among its priorities the urgent need to reduce viral hepatitis associated with drug use behaviors. - See more at: https://blog.aids.gov/2015/09/hcv-current-initiative-addressing-the-national-epidemics-of-prescription-opioid-misuse-and-hepatitis-c-through-unique-partnerships.

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