LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky is at the top of the charts, when it comes to the number of hepatitis C cases in the U.S.
But a new multi-million dollar, five-year initiative is aimed at reducing and preventing the virus. Gov. Matt Bevin helped announce the “HepConnect” plan Thursday morning. He says it’s important to tackle the spread of the disease.
“At the end of the day, most of these people who are dying are dying of liver-related diseases and cancers that are the onset of this disease. We can’t afford to ignore it,” he said.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Acute hepatitis C infections rose 98 percent between 2010 and 2015 nationwide, largely because more people were injecting drugs. Using a new needle for every injection can slow the spread of hepatitis C, but getting those new needles isn’t always as simple as buying glucose-meter lancets at the pharmacy. And safely disposing of old needles presents a whole other set of problems.
A team of West Virginia University researchers wanted to pinpoint what makes obtaining clean needles–and responsibly getting rid of used ones–difficult. To find out, they surveyed 100 people who attend needle exchange programs. Respondents cited one obstacle more than any other: fear of arrest.
“I believe the biggest barrier to needle exchange is paraphernalia laws and policing behaviors,” said Steve Davis, an associate professor in the School of Public Health, who led the study. The team’s findings, which appear in Harm Reduction Journal, bear that out. Nearly three-fourths of the study’s participants (72 percent) said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they could “get in trouble from the police” for carrying needles around.
Starbucks is being proactive about tackling drug use in its respective U.S. chains’ bathrooms and how it has negatively affected its employees. The coffee shop is installing needle-disposal boxes to curb complaints from employees, who have encountered accidental injuries from used syringes.
In 2018, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated Starbucks’ safety practices after two employees at a location in Eugene, Oregon, were poked with needles. The affected workers’ needle encounters occurred one month apart. The Seattle-based company was fined $3,100.
Business Insider reported roughly 25 Starbucks U.S. chains currently featured the needle-disposal component and the company has plans to roll out further installments this summer. A Starbucks spokesperson told Newsweek such developments are continuous and the number of sharp boxes currently installed was merely an “estimate.”
Note: This report is vague on specifics but the overall conclusion is that curative HCV medical treatment DOES NOT cause liver cancer – Alan
According to results of a retrospective cohort study of patients with hepatitis C viral (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who had achieved a complete response (CR) to anticancer treatment, subsequent direct-acting anti-hepatitis C viral therapy was not associated with recurrence of HCC. This study was published online in Gastroenterology.
Previous research had shown an association between achievement of a sustained hepatitis C viral response with interferon-based therapy administered following curative treatment for HCC and a decreased likelihood of disease recurrence. The current study was conducted to investigate whether direct-acting antiviral therapy administered in the same setting had an impact on the recurrence of disease in this population.
A total of 793 patients from 31 different sites in the United States and Canada who had achieved a complete response (CR) following treatment for HCV-related HCC during the period of 2013 to 2017 were included in the analysis. The percentages of patients who had or had not received subsequent direct-acting antiviral therapy were 38.3% and 61.7%, respectively. The HCC recurrence rate was 42.1% in the former group and 58.9% in the latter group.
Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was detected in 50% of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who also have chronic HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to data published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
To clarify the clinical and pathologic characteristics of occult HBV infection in patients with chronic HCV-related HCC, researchers sampled DNA from serum and tumor tissue. The virus was detected using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and clinicopathologic features were compared between patients with HCC who also have occult HBV infection and those without occult HBV infection.
Overall, the frequency of occult HBV infection was 50% in patients with HCV-related HCC. The HBV genotype D was found in 35% of those with HCC and was the most dominant genotype in the study. Approximately 80% of patients with occult HBV infection had anti-hepatitis B core (HBc) antibodies, while 20% had no serologic markers. The results also revealed a significant association between tissue HBV-DNA and positive serum HBV-DNA, anti-HBc, and genotype D.
A large US based population study of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) finds high levels of adherence, reduction in both drug and medical costs from when the antivirals were introduced, and comparable effectiveness to that attained in clinical trials.
Shaoman Yin, PhD, MSPH, and colleagues at the Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA conducted the study to add to the limited data available on real-world use of the DAAs in a nationwide population, and to examine the effects of some patient and payer differences which could not be assessed in clinical trials.
“For example, treatment adherence in routine care is complex and influenced by many factors, including characteristics and preferences of patients and providers, payer policies, and other health system factors,” Yin and colleagues pointed out.
Although increasing access to hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment in the Medicaid population will raise short-term costs, it will also save money and improve health within a 10-year window, according to a study published in BMC Health Services Research.1
Even though direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapies have been demonstrated to cure HCV infection in 90% to 100% of treated patients,2 many state Medicaid programs have restricted access to effective, but more costly, DAA therapies because of rising costs of care for HCV.3 For example, state Medicaid programs in North Carolina (NC) and Wisconsin (WI) have sobriety requirements for treatment, whereas states such as Oregon (OR) have recently lifted all restrictions.1 Therefore, researchers sought to demonstrate that states can expand DAA treatment access to a broader Medicaid population while balancing short-term budget concerns.
Researchers used the HCV Transmission and Progression Markov model to quantify the effect of removing restrictions to HCV treatment access on infected populations, expenditures, and net social value for the NC, OR, and WI Medicaid programs. They found that among all 3 states, removing access restrictions resulted in the greatest benefits over 10 years (net social value relative to baseline was $408 million each in NC and OR, and $271 million in WI) and the smallest infected population (5200 in NC, 2000 in OR, and 614 in WI). In addition, reduced disease transmission resulted in lower healthcare expenditures (−$66 million in NC, −$50 million in OR, and −$54 million in WI).
More than 55% of people who inject drugs, or PWID, in eight United States cities were found to have been infected with hepatitis C virus, including almost half of young PWID, according to study findings that also showed infection was associated with risky injection practices.
“Recent HCV infection outbreaks among networks of PWID have demonstrated a changing demographic of HCV-infected PWID. Outbreaks of acute HCV infection have been reported among young PWID (18-35 years), the majority of whom are non-Hispanic white and frequently report a history of prescription opioid misuse,” Winston E. Abara, MD, PhD, from the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, and colleagues wrote.
“The opioid crisis has fueled the recent increases in acute HCV infection, particularly among young PWID. Most young PWID begin by misusing prescription opioids and subsequently transition to injecting heroin because it is cheaper, more potent and more widely available than prescription opioids. Because young PWID are more likely to have just started injecting compared to older PWID, the increase in injection heroin and other opioid use among young people has been associated with increases in acute HCV infections.”