As the opioid epidemic rages, fueling hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission, a just-released analysis estimates that 2.4 million U.S. residents are living with a chronic HCV infection.

Publishing their findings in the journal Hepatology, researchers analyzed 2013 to 2016 data on all adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They also relied on literature reviews and estimates of population sizes to estimate how prevalent HCV is among incarcerated people, homeless individuals, active-duty military personnel and nursing home residents.

The researchers estimated that during the period analyzed, 1.7 percent of all adults in the United States, or 4.1 million people, had HCV antibodies (which indicates a past or current infection). They also estimated that 1 percent of adults, or 2.4 million people, had both HCV antibodies and a positive HCV RNA test, indicating a current chronic infection.

“Efforts on multiple fronts are needed to combat the evolving HCV epidemic, including increasing capacity for and access to HCV testing, linkage to [medical] care and cure [with direct-acting antivirals],” the study authors concluded.


To read the study abstract, click here.