Novel Routes of Potential Hepatitis C Virus Transmission among People Who Inject Drugs


Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has also been in the middle of a battle against the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Recently, the HCV epidemic has been driven by new cases among people who inject drugs (PWID) in one of two ways; mainly through direct sharing of syringes, but also potentially through secondary processes and materials involved in injecting. Contributed to by PISC External Advisory Board member Ricky Bluthenthal, PhD, this study aimed to characterize secondary blood exposures by studying a targeted sample of 553 PWID in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California in 2016-18. The study found that higher odds of blood on clothing in the last 30 days was significantly associated with lifetime positive HCV status, opioids as primary drug, injecting with others, sharing cookers, and receptive syringe sharing, while higher adjusted odds of blood on nearby surfaces in the last 30 days was significantly associated with lifetime positive HCV status, sharing cookers, and receptive syringe sharing. These results highlight the need for practices and procedures aimed at stopping potential blood exposures after injection episodes, as well as increased HCV testing at harm reduction sites.


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