Overcoming barriers to prevention, care, and treatment of hepatitis C in illicit drug users

Brian R. Edlin, Thomas F. Kresina, Daniel B. Raymond, Michael R. Carden, Marc N. Gourevitch, Josiah D. Rich, Laura W. Cheever, Victoria A. Cargill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Injection drug use accounts for most of the incident infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States and other developed countries. HCV infection is a complex and challenging medical condition in injection drug users (IDUs). Elements of care for hepatitis C in illicit drug users include prevention counseling and education; screening for transmission risk behavior; testing for HCV and human immunodeficiency virus infection; vaccination against hepatitis A and B viruses; evaluation for comorbidities; coordination of substance-abuse treatment services, psychiatric care, and social support; evaluation of liver disease; and interferon-based treatment for HCV infection. Caring for patients who use illicit drugs presents challenges to the health-care team that require patience, experience, and an understanding of the dynamics of substance use and addiction. Nonetheless, programs are successfully integrating hepatitis C care for IDUs into health-care settings, including primary care, methadone treatment and other substance-abuse treatment programs, infectious disease clinics, and clinics in correctional facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S276-S285
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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