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Hepatitis C virus infection among injecting drug users in Scotland: a review of prevalence and incidence data and the methods used to generate them

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 August 2006

K. M. ROY
Affiliation:
Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow, Scotland
S. J. HUTCHINSON
Affiliation:
Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow, Scotland Public Health and Health Policy Section, University of Glasgow, Scotland
S. WADD
Affiliation:
Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow, Scotland
A. TAYLOR
Affiliation:
School of Social Sciences, University of Paisley, Scotland
S. O. CAMERON
Affiliation:
Specialist Virology Centre, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland
S. BURNS
Affiliation:
Specialist Virology Centre, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
P. MOLYNEAUX
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Microbiology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, Scotland
P. G. MCINTYRE
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Microbiology, Ninewells Medical School, Dundee, Scotland
D. J. GOLDBERG
Affiliation:
Health Protection Scotland, Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow, Scotland
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Abstract

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It is estimated that of 50000 persons in Scotland (1% of the county's population), infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), around 90% injected drugs. This paper reviews data on the prevalence and incidence of HCV, and the methods used to generate such information, among injecting drug users (IDUs), in Scotland. The prevalence estimate for HCV among IDUs in Scotland as a whole (44% in 2000), is comparable with those observed in many European countries. Incidence rates ranged from 11·9 to 28·4/100 person-years. The data have shaped policy to prevent infection among IDUs and have informed predictions of the number of HCV-infected IDUs who will likely progress to, and require treatment and care for, severe HCV-related liver disease. Although harm reduction interventions, in particular needle and syringe exchanges and methadone maintenance therapy, reduced the transmission of HCV among IDUs during the early to mid-1990s, incidence in many parts of the country remains high. The prevention of HCV among IDUs continues to be one of Scotland's major public health challenges.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 Cambridge University Press
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