One of the ongoing problems in the USA is the emergence of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), a virus that is responsible for more that twelve thousand deaths each year. It is a normal pathogen that your blood carries, and because of it there are so many liver transplantations, for example. Most of the population carry the virus, but are not aware of it. The virus is spreading and the mortality rate is high, which will in turn result in public health being greatly affected by the whole situation. Interestingly enough, most hepatitis C virus deaths are those of men, rather than women. Also, death because of the hepatitis C virus is one of the most common cases of non-AIDS related mortality rates for HIV infected persons who have access to the kind of therapy needed to cure these infections.
Learning about the Virus
Over the years, and since the discovery of the test for hepatitis C virus antibodies, scientists have found out a lot about it. It can cause chronic infection at about 85% cases, the persons infected can later develop cirrhosis, and alcoholics and those with HIV have more chances to get ill from it. Hepatitis C virus is curable, and antiviral treatment of the hepatitis C virus is making progress. A lot of people who are being treated for HCV have never received an antiviral therapy, because it is very expensive, but the scientists are working on a new form of antiviral HCV therapy, which is good news.
HCV driven by the use of drugs
In 1992, a screening of the blood supplies began across the USA. That was the most common way to spread HCV, through blood transfusions, which gave way to the firm decision to check every blood transfusion before putting it into the system. There were cases when people got infected through blood transfusions, but that was the practice a long time ago. Although, some newer cases of that kind of transmission still exist today, because of the syringes that get reused and transmit the virus. Outside of USA, the biggest outbreak of hepatitis C virus was seen in Egypt. Obviously, the recommendations about the intravenous use only got more people to get infected by the HCV, and that is why this kind of drug use is still tainted and a very secret behavior among people. Some scientists have developed a new model of injection drug use. They used a virus cultured from syringes that were contaminated with HCV, which is an important factor in the fight against this virus.
NEP – Needle Exchange Program
Those same scientists have also started a NEP program, which literally means needle exchange program, which had a great impact on the reduction of the transmission of HIV virus, but it didn’t give impressive results in the case of hepatitis C virus. Understanding HCV, and its prevention, as well as new changes in using syringes gives us the opportunity to develop future public health attempts to prevent HCV infection.