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Hepatitis C virus in intravenous drug users [see comments]


Med J Aust. 1990 Sep 3;153(5):274-6. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE

Sera from 172 intravenous drug users were tested for the presence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV). The results were analysed in relation to aspects of the history of drug use and evidence of liver disease. The presence of anti-HCV was strongly associated with duration of intravenous drug use. Two-thirds of patients were anti-HCV seropositive within two years of commencing regular intravenous drug use, and there was 100% seropositivity among people injecting drugs for more than eight years. Seropositivity for hepatitis C virus closely paralleled exposure to hepatitis B virus, which was also endemic in this population. In contrast, only one patient tested positive for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus. The presence of anti-HCV correlated poorly with biochemical markers of hepatitis. About half the patients with anti-HCV had normal serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, whereas an abnormal liver biochemistry was frequently observed in anti-HCV seronegative subjects. Previous studies of non-A, non-B hepatitis that have used abnormal liver biochemistry as a marker have underestimated the prevalence of chronic hepatitis among intravenous drug users; the use of a specific screening test reveals that infection with hepatitis C virus is very common in this population.

Adult Alanine Aminotransferase/BLOOD Comparative Study *Diacetylmorphine Female Hepatitis Antibodies/*BLOOD Hepatitis B Virus/IMMUNOLOGY Hepatitis C/EPIDEMIOLOGY/*IMMUNOLOGY/MICROBIOLOGY Hepatitis, Viral, Human/*IMMUNOLOGY Human Male New South Wales/EPIDEMIOLOGY Prevalence Prisoners Substance Abuse, Intravenous/COMPLICATIONS/*IMMUNOLOGY Time Factors JOURNAL ARTICLE


Information in this article was accurate in December 30, 1990. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.