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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Archival Content: 1999-2005

Esta página en EspañolViral Hepatitis and Injection Drug Users

In the United States, viral hepatitis is an important public health problem because it causes serious illness, it affects millions, and it has a close connection with HIV. This series of fact sheets addresses viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis B and C – two important blood-borne infections that have a major impact on injection drug users (IDUs).


Viral Hepatitis and Injection Drug Users
Millions of Americans have viral hepatitis. It is a particularly significant problem among injection drug users (IDUs). Growing awareness of this problem is leading to new initiatives, but efforts to prevent these diseases and reduce their medical, financial, and social costs face challenges. (PDF)PDF Icon

Medical Management of Chronic Hepatitis B and Chronic Hepatitis C
Many individuals who become infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) develop chronic liver disease that can gradually lead to serious liver damage. Medical management involves periodic monitoring, abstinence from alcoholic beverages, and for some patients, antiviral therapy. (PDF)PDF Icon

Vaccines to Prevent Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Hepatitis A and B can be prevented through immunization. Awareness of the importance of immunizing against these diseases is growing, and new initiatives are capitalizing on this interest. No vaccine to prevent hepatitis C is available. (PDF)PDF Icon

Hepatitis C Virus and HIV Coinfection
Coinfection with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a significant problem, especially among injection drug users (IDUs). Care for individuals living with both diseases is complex. Coinfected IDUs can be treated successfully, although the caregiving team should have expertise in liver disease, HIV, and addiction. (PDF)PDF Icon

Viral Hepatitis and the Criminal Justice System
The unique circumstances of the criminal justice environment create opportunities to reach an underserved population with viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services. However, correctional facilities must grapple with several issues, including uncertainty about who will pay for these services, a lack of screening and treatment guidelines, and a need for staff training. (PDF)PDF Icon

 

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