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No Duhh~!!!-Marty

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  • 2byteme@bellsouth.net
    Hepatitis C Still a Hidden Epidemic October 27, 2000 MedscapeWire Despite the fanfare of several recent public education campaigns, general awareness of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2000
      Hepatitis C Still a Hidden Epidemic

      October 27, 2000
      MedscapeWire



      Despite the fanfare of several recent public education campaigns,
      general awareness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is poor compared
      with awareness of AIDS and HIV, according to the results of a
      study presented at the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the
      American College of Gastroenterology (ACG).

      The investigators, from Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center,
      Bronx, New York, surveyed more than 600 individuals. Of
      those, almost half (290, including 92 physicians) were employees
      of the hospital. The 2-part survey instrument collected
      demographic data and responses to 10 HCV-related and 10
      HIV-related questions. The researchers found that the research
      participants' awareness of HCV was significantly lower than that
      of HIV (49% compared with 70%), and physician counseling
      significantly increased HCV awareness but produced no change
      in HIV awareness.

      In addition, more than two-thirds (68%) and three-quarters
      (75%) of participants said they would volunteer their HIV and
      HCV status, respectively, to a healthcare worker. An even
      higher percentage (91% and 92% for HIV and HCV,
      respectively) would share that information with a partner at risk.

      The results of the survey showed a general lack of awareness
      about hepatitis C, despite the recent educational programs. The
      study shows that people do not appear to recognize the rapidly
      rising prevalence of HCV as the sign of a major epidemic.
      However, the survey did indicate that physician counseling
      increased HCV awareness; therefore, physicians should place an
      emphasis on counseling their patients.

      Overall, it appears that the medical community needs to remain
      vigilant and continue this serious educational effort with the aim
      of increasing awareness. Each year, between 28,000 and
      180,000 Americans are infected with HCV. The number of
      Americans currently infected is 3.9 million, according to the
      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In
      comparison, an average of 31,600 people have developed
      full-blown AIDS each year since 1981, and the CDC estimates
      that approximately 900,000 people in the United States are
      infected.

      Infection with HCV can last a lifetime and can progress to liver
      failure, liver cancer, and death. HCV is the primary cause of liver
      transplant in the United States. Risk factors for the disease are
      the use of injection or snorted drugs, blood transfusions
      performed before 1992 (prior to identification and screening of
      the virus), and unprotected sex with multiple partners. There is
      no fully successful treatment.
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