Hepatitis C Infection Could Mean Heart Trouble

New article via John Hopkins Medicine

“People infected with the hepatitis C virus are at risk for liver damage, but the results of a new Johns Hopkins study now show the infection may also spell heart trouble…We have strong reason to believe that infection with hepatitis C fuels cardiovascular disease, independent of HIV and sets the stage for subsequent cardiovascular trouble,” says study principal investigator Eric Seaberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We believe our findings are relevant to anyone infected with hepatitis C regardless of HIV status.”

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Stopping the HIV Outbreak in Rural Indiana

‘On March 26, 2015, Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency in several counties across Indiana due to a rapidly escalating outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

In just a few short years, there has been a large increase in the number of young people abusing opiates. This increase in injection-drug use and the high rate of HIV and HCV transmission through drug injection means that needles are in short supply, and injection-drug users are turning to sharing needles.

Indiana is one of 25 states in the U.S. where it’s illegal to purchase syringes without a prescription and where state law does not authorize needle-exchange programs. Thus why Governor Pence declared a state of emergency, which enabled him to temporarily suspend the law and introduce a temporary needle-exchange program.

However, this needle-exchange program deters many people from participating because it requires that injection-drug users register with their initials and date of birth and unregistered injection-drug users are subject to prosecution for carrying syringes. (Using needles for non-medical purposes is a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison.)

In order to prevent further HIV outbreaks among substance users, aggressive implementation of evidence-based practices for HIV prevention must be put in place. Permanently lifting the ban on using federal funds to support needle-exchange programs will be a critical component of HIV prevention, since these programs reduce HIV incidence.  The federal funding ban limits these programs scalability and quality of services, including their ability to provide on-site HIV and HCV testing and referrals for drug treatment.’

Synopsis of Threading the Needle — How to Stop the HIV Outbreak in Rural Indiana by Steffanie A. Strathdee, Ph.D., and Chris Beyrer, M.D., M.P.H.

PrEP Users’ Sexually Acquired Hep C Suggests Need for Routine Testing

Evidence of sexual acquisition of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis through a San Francisco clinic has prompted a call for routine monitoring for the virus among PrEP users. In a letter to the editor in Clinical Infectious Diseases, clinicians from Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center describe new cases of hep C among two men out of 485 HIV-negative MSM receiving PrEP at the clinic between February 2011 and December 2014.

Read the full report from  

Pregnant Women With Hep C Have 6% Chance of Passing the Virus to Their Babies

(reposted from

Pregnant women with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have an estimated 5.8 percent risk of transmitting the virus to their unborn child, a risk that more than doubles if they are coinfected with HIV. Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 109 studies to make their estimates about the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT).

The mother’s 5.8 percent chance of transmitting the virus to her baby rises to 10.8 percent if she is HIV-positive. HIV itself raises the risk 2.56-fold, more so than any other determinant of risk.

The scientists stated that more research is needed into other ways that children who are at risk of MTCT may be put at risk for contracting hep C during early childhood.

To read the study, click here.