Hepatitis C Virus Seroprevalence

Selected Health Care Settings in Texas  

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Abstract of Journal Article - March 2006  

By Sharon K. Melville, MD, MPH; Gary Heseltine, MD, MPH; Elizabeth Delamater, PhD; Zunera Gilani, MPH; Kate Hendricks, MD, MPH, TM; and Lucina Suarez, PhD  

This study describes the burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Texas through a series of seroprevalence studies in various health care settings. We assessed antibodies to HCV on excess blood samples from clients attending drug treatment centers (DTCs), sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, and publicly funded HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) testing sites. Clients attending DTCs had the highest seroprevalence at 73.0%, followed by those presenting at HIV testing sites (10.9%) and STD clinics (5.8%). Injection drug users had much higher seroprevalence than nonusers. Hepatitis C infection seroprevalences were higher in older clients than in younger clients. This investigation supports integrating HCV counseling and testing services into existing HIV and STD services since these populations share risk factors for bloodborne and sexually transmitted diseases. The reported prevalence of HCV can be used as a baseline measurement to monitor the effectiveness of screening for HCV. 

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