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Monday, May 9, 2011

Hepatitis C On The Rise

Intravenous drug use often goes hand in hand with addiction along with a number of other terrible things. When addicts are under the influence sound decision making is usually not present, leading addicts to make poor judgment calls about sharing needles and having unprotected sex, two activities that spread diseases like Hepatitis C and AIDS. Hepatitis C infections have been rising rapidly among young white people in Massachusetts, a direct result of increased use of heroin and other drugs that can administered intravenously, according to researchers.

A team from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that cases of the Hepatitis C infection have been dropping across the general population, but in the 15 to 24 age group infection rates steadily rose between 2002 and 2006, which continued on through 2009. "Of cases with available risk data, injection drug use was the most common risk factor for HCV transmission," the team wrote in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report on death and disease. "The increase in case reports appears to represent an epidemic of HCV infection related to IDU (injected drug use) among new populations of adolescents and young adults in Massachusetts".

Hepatitis C and other viruses that can be passed though bodily fluid are serious problems worldwide that need to be addressed. In recent years efforts have been made to provide addicts with clean needles that can be safely disposed of by professionals after the needles have been contaminated. Unfortunately, a number of IV drug users, despite being offered healthy avenues for obtaining clean needles, will reach their hand inside a bio-hazard sharps box to fish out a syringe with little or no concern for the risk of blood born infections. Efforts need to be made to ensure addicts cannot even have the option of obtaining a dirty needle from any medical facility.

According to the CDC, 3.2 million Americans are infected.

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