Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hepatitis C at epidemic levels among young injectors in London

12.11.2004


Levels of hepatitis C among young injecting drug users across London are reaching epidemic levels report researchers from Imperial College London, the Health Protection Agency and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



According to research published today in the British Medical Journal, four in ten new young injectors now has hepatitis C, while three per cent are now infected with HIV.

Hepatitis C, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal liver damage, is mainly spread by sharing needles and syringes. Preventing HCV transmission among injecting drug users is critical to avoiding significant later health consequences in the population and associated treatment costs.


Dr Ali Judd, from Imperial College London, based at Charing Cross Hospital, and one of the authors of the study, comments: “Hepatitis C is now spreading at epidemic levels across London and HIV incidence is worryingly high, which if unchecked will lead to an increase in the total number of HIV infections. There is an urgent need for new and comprehensive programmes to tackle this growing problem.”

For the study, the researchers recruited 428 injecting drug users, aged below 30 years or who had been injecting for six years or less, and followed them up one year later. The study was made possible through the use of saliva and blood spot tests for HCV and HIV developed at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections. Of those that were HCV negative or HIV negative at the first interview they found 42 percent and 3.4 percent were infected with HCV and HIV respectively one year later. The researchers also found high levels of syringe sharing, with one in four reporting injecting with needles and syringes that had been used by someone else in the last four weeks and one in two sharing other injecting paraphernalia.

Dr Matthew Hickman from Imperial College London, based at Charing Cross Hospital, and one of the authors of the study, comments: “For the past 6 or 7 years, government drug policy has focused on drugs and crime, and has been successful in expanding specialist drug treatment, especially through referral from criminal justice. However, there is a need now to re-invigorate harm reduction policies that prevent transmission of HCV and HIV.”

The researchers believe a number of factors may have contributed to the rise in the incidence of HCV and HIV. These include a rise in the number of injectors, without any increase in the number of syringes distributed through syringe programmes, more risky injecting behaviour in newer injecting drug users, and greater levels of crack injection. There has also been a lack of targeted health promotion campaigns about hepatitis C in recent years.

The study was funded by the Policy Research Programme of the Department of Health.

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin
24.01.2017 | Carlos III University of Madrid

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>