Note: New York Time article – great information and stories about hepatitis B and C. I may require free registration to read a number of articles every month. Alan
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver generally caused by a virus. Hepatitis B and C are the most common viral types. The disease carries a host of complicating factors, side effects and stigma. Here six men and women speak about living with hepatitis.
A new meta-analysis of global hepatitis data shows that indigenous peoples are up to 10 times more likely to be infected by viral hepatitis than the general population in their respective countries, according to a presentation at the 2017 World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Viral Hepatitis, in Anchorage, Alaska.
“These data confirm that indigenous peoples worldwide are bearing a disproportionately high burden of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or both. More must be done to ensure that Indigenous Peoples everywhere are at the heart of hepatitis treatment and prevention programs,” said Raquel Peck, the CEO of the World Hepatitis Alliance, in London.
In this new research, Homie Razavi, PhD, and Devin Razavi-Shearer-Spink, of the Polaris Observatory in Lafayette, Co., reviewed the prevalence of both viruses in the indigenous peoples and general populations of North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. For hepatitis C virus (HCV), data that could be extrapolated to the general population were found for 11 countries and included 23 specific indigenous peoples and nations as well as 12 broader groupings, covering the period from 1991 onward.
The link between CVD and HIV and hepatitis C virus is complex. Progress has been made in recent years regarding diagnosis and treatment, but unanswered questions remain. Patients with HIV and hepatitis C virus are living longer due to breakthroughs in treatment, leading cardiologists to play a larger role in the associated CVDs that may arise.
“The community is learning that HIV-infected individuals are living longer, and because of this, they’re developing a wide spectrum of CVD,” Priscilla Hsue, MD, FACC, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, told Cardiology Today.
Although there is more to discover about the link between CVD and HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), researchers have made significant strides into determining the specific CV conditions that are common in patients with HIV and HCV. Those with HIV are more likely to develop HF with reduced ejection fraction, HF with preserved ejection fraction and ischemic cardiomyopathy, whereas clinical outcomes including angina, atherosclerosis and MI are more common in patients with HCV.
The survey results suggest a wide variation in existing national testing policy and practice when it comes to hepatitis B and C – with overall limited monitoring of testing, diagnosis, and treatment across EU/EEA Member States. Many respondents expressed a need for Europe-wide practical guidance on how testing initiatives should be conducted, evaluated, and monitored.
An estimated 9 to 10 million Europeans have been infected with the hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA), and many are unaware of their infection. ECDC undertook two surveys to evaluate needs and priorities to inform a Guidance on HBV/HCV testing and screening in the EU and to assess the availability of monitoring data on the HBV and HCV epidemic against the core indicators defined in the WHO Regional Action Plan to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. 20 (65%) and 21 (68%) Member States responded to the two surveys.
The results suggest a wide variation in HBV/HCV testing policy and practice across the EU/EEA showing significant gaps in available testing guidance and a lack of national monitoring programmes regarding all aspects of testing, diagnosis, treatment, morbidity, and mortality.
Homeless veterans in the United States have a significantly higher prevalence of infection with HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) compared to non-homeless veterans, investigators report in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Prevalence of these viral infections was up to three times higher among homeless veterans compared to non-homeless veterans.
“Veterans who use homeless services clearly comprise a population with increased prevalence of HIV, HCV and HBV,” comment the authors. “A veteran’s involvement with homeless services provides a unique opportunity for engagement with other healthcare services, potentially using an integrated, co-located clinic model in a comprehensive approach.”
It is well established that HIV, HCV and HBV disproportionately affect armed forces veterans in the United States. Homeless individuals are at particularly high risk of infection with these blood-borne viruses due to overlapping risk factors, including mental health disorders and substance abuse.
A big data study of hepatitis C and more than 500 patients with the virus has opened the way for a better understanding of how the virus interacts with its human hosts.
Researchers at the University of Oxford have for the first time developed a method for analysing and comparing the genetic makeup of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), as well as that of more than 500 patients with the virus. Looked at together, this will give researchers new insights into HCV and how the human genome interacts with and changes the virus.
Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, with 2-3% of the world’s population thought to be infected with HCV, including an estimated 300,000 in the UK. Many people are unaware they are infected with the virus, which left untreated can led to liver disease and cancer.
The discovery of over 200 new HIV diagnoses in Indiana’s small, rural Scott County over the course of 2015 was a major wake up call for many about the dangers of ignoring the HIV prevention needs of people who inject drugs. The massive number of new cases in Scott County coupled with the ongoing epidemic of injection drug use in rural America significantly changed the political landscape around HIV prevention in the past few years, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify 220 other counties that could be vulnerable to similar HIV “outbreaks.”
The situation in Scott County led to substantive policy change in December of 2015 when the Republican-led Congress quietly reversed their stance on a federal ban barring funding from being spent on syringe access programs (SAPs) – a change that had long been sought by HIV prevention advocates. How do we holistically address the needs of these communities beyond SAPs? How do we best involve affected communities within these responses?
Approximately 3 to 5 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C, an infection that causes inflammation and scarring in the liver. Heavy alcohol use, fatty liver, autoimmune diseases, among other, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, but the hepatitis C virus is the most common cause. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver that results in cirrhosis which in turn results in long-term health problems, including liver failure, liver cancer and death. This danger is compounded by the fact that many infected people aren’t aware they have the disease because they don’t feel sick or experience symptoms. Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B, for which vaccines exist, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
But there is some good news: Hepatitis C can now be cured. There are several effective medications for it, and if it’s caught early and treated, people with the disease can live a normal life. The key is finding it early.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with hepatitis C, and our patients often struggle with telling their loved ones they have it. These patients assume that if they have hepatitis C, they did something bad, as the most common cause is injection drug use. The truth is, if a person tests positive for hepatitis C, it doesn’t mean he or she is a drug addict; there are several ways people can get the disease. Some people are born with it; others become infected through a blood transfusion or a needlestick with infected blood.