Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More than 27 percent of L.A homeless adults have hepatitis C, and nearly half don't know it

12.06.2012
Recent government studies show that hepatitis C, which can destroy the liver and necessitate a liver transplant, now kills more American adults than AIDS, and new UCLA research shows just how prevalent the disease is among homeless adults in downtown Los Angeles.

In a study published in the July–August issue of Public Health Reports, researchers found that 26.7 percent of homeless adults tested and surveyed in downtown Los Angeles' skid row were infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) — more than 10 times the 2 percent rate among the general U.S. population. Of those surveyed, 46.1 percent were unaware that they were infected. Four percent of the sample were HIV-positive.

Few of the infected homeless adults surveyed had ever received any treatment for their HCV, said Dr. Lillian Gelberg, professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who led the study with Dr. Marjorie Robertson of the Public Health Institute's Alcohol Research Group. Less than 3 percent of those who knew they were infected had ever been treated.

"Their hepatitis C can result in high costs to the public and the healthcare system if progression of their disease is not halted through treatment," said Gelberg, who is also a professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. "The costs of their untreated hepatitis C may start escalating soon, as many are approaching 20 years of infection, which is the point at which we see escalating risk for liver cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease, requiring expensive health services utilization and liver transplantation."

The study surveyed 534 homeless adults from 41 shelters and meal programs in the skid row area between June 2003 and February 2004. Most were males and the majority were African Americans. Each was tested for hepatitis B and C and for HIV. Overall, the researchers found that HCV prevalence was significantly higher among those homeless individuals who had injected drugs or been in prison; who were 40 years of age and older; who had less education; or who were U.S.-born.

Among the other key findings:
20.4 percent of those surveyed had injected illicit drugs; of those, 77.6 percent tested positive for HCV. Among those who had injected drugs, HCV infection was associated with older age and a prison history.
Among those who never used injection drugs, 13.6 percent had HCV. Infection rates were significantly higher among non-injectors if they were older, had less education, used serious non-injection drugs (excluding marijuana), had three or more tattoos, or had been in prison.

Overall, after controlling for other factors, sexual behaviors were not significantly related to HCV infection.

There are some limitations to this study. For instance, though HCV infection rates were based on blood tests, many of the other measures used were based on self-reporting, which is subject to recall bias and other errors. In addition, the findings may not be applicable beyond the population and geographic area the researchers studied, though the researchers noted that their sample's demographics were similar to those of other urban homeless populations that have been studied, and rates of IV drug use and HCV among injectors were similar to those of a general homeless sample.

"This and previous studies demonstrate that urban homeless adults in the U.S. are at high risk for HCV infection," the researchers concluded. "About half of those infected with HCV were unaware of their infection status. Homeless adults need interventions that include HCV education, counseling, voluntary testing and treatment services. HCV prevention and treatment programs could be modeled after relevant successful interventions developed for U.S. homeless persons with HIV/AIDS."

Other researchers included Lisa Arangua, Ardis Moe, Ronald M. Andersen, Barbara D. Leake, Gerald Sumner and Adeline Nyamathi, all of UCLA, and Hal Morgenstern of the University of Michigan.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (RO1-DA14294) and the Centers for Disease Control funded this study. Gelberg received additional support as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar and as UCLA's George F. Kneller Chair in Family Medicine. Robertson received additional support from the National Alcohol Research Center (P60-AA05595) at the Alcohol Research Group of the Public Health Institute. Andersen received additional support from the UCLA/DREW Project EXPORT (funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, P20MD000148/P20MD000182).

The UCLA Department of Family Medicine provides comprehensive primary care to entire families, from newborns to seniors. It provides low-risk obstetrical services and prenatal and in-patient care at UCLA Medical Center–Santa Monica and out-patient care at the University Family Health Center in Santa Monica and the Mid-Valley Family Health Center (located in a Los Angeles County Health Center in Van Nuys, Calif.). The department is also a leader in family medicine education for both medical students and residents and houses a significant research unit focusing on health care disparities among immigrant families, minority communities and other underserved populations in Los Angeles and California.

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals, translating research into policy and practice, and serving local, national and international communities.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom and follow us on Twitter.

Enrique Rivero | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mednet.ucla.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

nachricht Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>