Monday, January 21, 2019

Opioid and HCV Epidemics - Spreading rapidly in new generations, but boomers bear biggest burden

For Patients: Basic HCV Information
In this program launched by PeerView, Dr. Mark Sulkowski heads an expert panel addressing the evolving opioid and Hepatitis C epidemics. The good doctor will discuss basic HCV information for both the baby boomer generation (born between 1945 and 1965) and a younger at risk population, people less than 40 years old. 

Here are a few highlights to get you started, followed by tips for navigating the presentation.

Did you know?
Hepatitis C is spreading rapidly in new generations, but boomers bear the biggest burden.
Dr. Sulkowski: This group is critically important, because they’ve lived so long with the infection. They’re now presenting with liver disease, such as cirrhosis, decompensation—and they’re what’s behind the rise in liver cancer.. We’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute. And these individuals are dying about 15,000 deaths per year.

Dr. Sulkowski: So, let’s move into the first lecture portion of this, where we’re going to try to cover some of the basics about the burden of hepatitis C, where we stand with treatment and cure, and then we’re going to focus more on the local picture. Hep C is a major cause of mortality in America, more than any other infectious disease, even when you combine them. And I’ll come back to that with some actual data from the CDC. So, [HCV is] a major problem in the United States.

Opiate epidemic in the United States 
18-to 29-year-olds and 30- to 39-year-olds.
Dr. Sulkowski: In parallel with that is hepatitis C. One thing that characterizes this virus is it is very transmissible by blood contamination. But it’s not just reuse of needles; it’s reuse of any of the works, including water, that have been used to prepare drugs.

And it’s so contagious that people acquire it unknowingly. So, you can see that staggering increase in hepatitis C among this population, and that’s what’s driving that second hump on our epidemiology graphics in California but also here in Maryland.

A Closer Look at the Burden of HCV Infection in a New Era of Treatment and Cure
Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use in the Urban Setting: Perspectives From the Front Lines 
Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use in the Rural Setting: Perspectives From the Front Lines 
Practice Aids, Slides, Monograph and Live Roundtable Discussion Summary 
Experts discuss working with patients with substance use disorder 

For Patients: How To Navigate The Program 
Begin: Click here
-Select any specialty or profession
-The program will begin
-Interactive questions will appear; respond by clicking "N/A" or click "Next Button" on the top of your screen.
-Pause program click on the video presentation. 
-No registration is required

Recommended Reading
Screening For HCV Is Lacking - Baby Boomers
Screening strategies have been in place for baby boomers since 2012, but according to research, and the American Liver Foundation, "Few boomers are getting screened for hep C'

Screening For HCV Is Lacking - Young People At Risk
Screening young people most at risk for HCV is lacking as well, last month an article written by Michelle Andrews, published by Kaiser Health News (KHN) found facilities ready to serve people who use drugs are not always screening patients, read the article here.

The opioid epidemic is a major contributor to the current rise in HCV infections. Recently, HepVu launched a map on the impact of hepatitis C across the U.S. In some states the map shows a concentration of infections most impacted by the opioid epidemic.

Taking Down the Opioid Crisis 
Andrew Reynolds writes about the opioid crisis online at POSITIVELY AWARE (PA)
This article will provide you with a broad overview of the scope of the problem, basic information to understand what opioids are and how they lead to overdoses, and some harm reduction tips and resources so that you, or someone you know who uses drugs, can be safe. 
Read it here, follow Andrew on twitter. Visit Project Inform to read additional articles about the opioid crisis. 

Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds is the Hepatitis C Education Manager at Project Inform, and facilitates several HCV support groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's also a counselor on the HELP-4-HEP HCV phoneline (877-435-7443). Call him if you have any questions about HCV care and treatment.

Healio’s Opioid Resource Center
Healio’s Opioid Resource Center compiles the latest stories across a range of specialties, covering the latest research into the epidemic, FDA decisions on treatments and other related announcements.

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