Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Who: Four Ways to Reduce Hepatitis Infections in People Who Inject Drugs

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Who: Four Ways to Reduce Hepatitis Infections in People Who Inject Drugs

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON/GENEVA 1 2 1 July 20 1 2 - The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified four key actions countries can take to prevent viral hepatitis ? and C among people who inject drugs. Of the estimated 16 million people who inject drugs worldwide, it is estimated that 10 million are infected with hepatitis C. An additional 1.2 million are infected with hepatitis B.

Many drug users are unable to obtain sterile syringes: in some countries it is illegal to distribute or possess syringes for non-medical purposes. The risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV infection occurs when people share syringes and needles. Used injection equipment retains traces of blood. If that blood contains HIV, hepatitis or another type of virus, the next person using the syringe could be infected.

A number of countries have established programmes to reduce HIV infections among people who inject drugs.

"Most of the interventions that prevent HIV transmission between people who inject drugs are virtually the same as those for preventing viral hepatitis ? …

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