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War on Drugs Is Major Driver of Global Hepatitis C Epidemic

The so-called "war on drugs" plays a major role is sustaining hepatitis C epidemics worldwide, including in hard-hit Russia and Eastern Europe, according to the latest report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Drug prohibition drives drug users underground and blocks harm reduction efforts such as needle exchange programs. "The war on drugs is a war on common sense," said Commissioner Ruth Dreifuss.alt

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Tattoos Are Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the Absence of Other Risk Factors

Individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in New York City were about 5 times more likely to have a tattoo than people without HCV, even after traditional risk factors such as injection drug use were taken into account, researchers reported in the January 12, 2013, advance online edition of Hepatology.alt

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Experimental Hepatitis C Vaccine Triggers T-Cell Responses in Early Clinical Trial

An investigational adenovirus-based hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine induced sustained T-cell responses and cytokine production in a small Phase 1 study of healthy volunteers, according to findings reported in the January 4, 2012, issue of Science Translational Medicine.alt

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Can Low Volume Syringes Help End HIV and HCV Transmission Among People Who Use Drugs?

Syringes that have a lower "dead space" volume retain less fluid that can harbor HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), and switching to this type could help reduce viral transmission among injection drug users, according to an article in the January 2013 issue of International Journal of Drug Policy.

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AASLD 2011: Epidemic of Sexually Transmitted HCV among HIV+ Gay Men in Amsterdam Levels Off

The epidemic of apparently sexually transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among HIV positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in Amsterdam appears to have stabilized since 2008-2009, but monitoring and prevention efforts are still needed, according to data presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Liver Meeting (AASLD 2011) last week in San Francisco.alt

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Water and Filters Used for Drug Injection May Transmit Hepatitis C Virus

Water, containers, and material used to mix and filter heroin -- not just syringes -- can harbor hepatitis C virus (HCV) and contribute to transmission among injection drug users, according to a study published in the November 5, 2012, advance edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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Discovery May Aid Development of Hepatitis C Vaccine

Australian researchers have shed new light on the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by performing a longitudinal genetic analysis of the virus in 4 patients from the first few weeks after infection until resolution (spontaneous clearance or establishment of chronic infection).alt

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HIV+ People Who Get Hepatitis C May Experience Rapid Liver Disease Progression

People with HIV, especially those with advanced immune suppression, who become coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) may experience rapid progression to decompensated cirrhosis and liver-related death, Mt. Sinai researchers reported in the December 21, 2012, advance edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Experimental HCV Vaccine Induces Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies in Mice and Monkeys

French researchers have taken a further step toward the elusive goal of a vaccine for hepatitis C, using virus-like particles that stimulate a broad neutralizing antibody response effective against multiple HCV genotypes, according to a report in the August 3, 2011, issue of Science Translational Medicine. alt

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Hepatitis C Sexual Transmission Is Rare among Monogamous Heterosexual Couples

Transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) between long-term, monogamous, heterosexual partners can potentially occur, but appears to be very uncommon, according to a study of 500 couples described in the November 23, 2012, advance online edition of Hepatology. Furthermore, the analysis failed to find a link between HCV transmission and any specific sexual activities.

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New Phase 2b Study of Experimental Hepatitis C Vaccine ChronVac-C

Inovio Pharmaceuticals this week announced that its partner ChronTech has started a new Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate an investigational therapeutic hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine candidate known as ChronVac-C. In early studies the vaccine increased T-cell responses against HCV, suppressed viral load, and appeared to be safe and well-tolerated.

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HIV11: Sexually Transmitted HCV Rising among HIV+ Gay Men in Europe, but More Are Getting Treated

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection rates continue to rise among HIV positive people in Europe, with the highest incidence among injection drug users and men who have sex with men, researchers reported at the 11th International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection last month in Glasgow. Another study, however, found that HIV/HCV coinfected people are now more likely to receive hepatitis C treatment.

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Little Overlap of Sexually Transmitted HCV between U.S. and Europe

A phylogenetic analysis of more 200 hepatitis C virus (HCV) strains from HIV positive gay and bisexual men revealed extensive clustering of related viruses within U.S. cities, but little overlap between the East and West coasts, or between the U.S. and Europe or Australia, according to findings presented at the at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection (CROI 2011) this month in Boston.

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U.S. Agencies Recommend Blunt Suture Needles to Reduce Risk of Viral Hepatitis and HIV

In late May, U.S. agencies concerned with worker health and safety issued a joint advisory recommending that healthcare personnel should use blunt-tip suture needles as an alternative to standard suture needles for stitching muscle and connective tissue, in order to decrease the risk of needle-stick injuries that could transmit blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.alt

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Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C among HIV Positive Men in the U.S. and Australia

Nearly three-quarters of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among HIV positive gay and bisexual men in the U.S. are likely due to sexual transmission, according to an analysis described in the January 31, 2011 advance online issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. An Australian study published in the same issue found that sexual transmission accounted for a majority of cases among men who have sex with men, but injection drug use also played a role. These findings suggest that HIV positive people who have risky sex should undergo regular hepatitis C testing.

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Professional Tattooing and Piercing Not Linked to Hepatitis C Risk

While amateur tattoos and other body modifications done in prison or other non-professional settings can carry an increased risk of acquiring hepatitis C virus (HCV), there is no evidence of increased transmission risk for tattoos or piercings done in professional studios, according to a meta-analysis described in the April 15, 2012 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.alt

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Danish Study Looks at Hepatitis C Sexual Transmission among HIV Positive Gay Men

Less than 1% of HIV positive gay and bisexual men seen at a Danish hospital were found to have acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to a study presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases "Liver Meeting" (AASLD 2010) this week in Boston. All those who started hepatitis C treatment within 6 months of becoming infected achieved rapid virological response, while 1 who started later experienced HCV relapse.

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Scientists Find Antibodies that Neutralize Multiple Strains of Hepatitis C Virus

As described in a report published in the April 4, 2012, online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Erick Giang and Mansun Law from the Scripps Research Institute and colleagues have identified a set of antibodies with activity against 5 different antigenic regions on the E1E2 complex of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) outer envelope.alt

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Acute Hepatitis C as a Sexually Transmitted Infection in HIV Positive Men

Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV positive men who have sex with men has now been recognized for a decade, occurring in cities in Europe, North America, and Australia. Since acute HCV outbreaks occur almost exclusively among men with HIV, being HIV positive probably plays a critical role, according to the authors of a review article in the July 31, 2010 issue of AIDS.

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Canadian Researchers Make Progress in Quest for Hepatitis C Vaccine

Researchers at the University of Albert say they have discovered a new vaccine candidate that stimulates immune response against all genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV). The variability of the virus enables it to elude the immune system and has so far hampered efforts to develop an effective vaccine.alt

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Reappearance of HCV in Gay Men Is Usually Due to Re-infection, Not Late Relapse

Re-emergence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in gay and bisexual men who were previously treated and achieved sustained virological response with interferon-based therapy appears to be due to reinfection, not late relapse occurring after the usual window for determining a cure, according to a genetic sequencing study described in the April 1, 2010 Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

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