By Shaun Smillie
On the streets, there is a silent killer that preys on drug users and which does not have the notoriety of HIV/Aids, but is responsible for more deaths. Unlike HIV/Aids, it is easily cured and its spread can be prevented by using clean needles.
Viral hepatitis is responsible for 1.34 million deaths a year globally and, for the first time, research has revealed the impact the disease has on drug users in three South African cities.
The study involved a sample of 943 users who inject drugs, from Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. The researchers took blood samples from these users and tested them for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The results were published in the Harm Reduction Journal.
The study found that HIV prevalence was 21% of the sample, hepatitis B stood at 5% and that the incidence of hepatitis C was far higher.
“Half the sample had been infected with hepatitis C at some stage, and of those, 46% of males and 34% females were actively infected,” says Dr Andrew Scheibe, from the TB/HIV Care Association, the study’s lead.
This research comes on the back of a recent study by ENACT, an organisation that monitors and develops…
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Publish date : 2019-05-14 11:46:27