Injection drug users who are enrolled in an addiction treatment program are highly receptive to both learning about the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and seeking treatment for the deadly liver disease, according to a University of Buffalo study published online in the Journal of Addiction Medicine and also written about in the UB Reporter.

The study notes that injection drug use is a huge driver of new hepatitis C infections in the United States, with HCV prevalence rates as high as 80 percent among this population. Researchers also noted that patients struggling with addiction are, on average, far less likely than the rest of the population to seek out care for the disease or adhere to treatments.
However, new findings, based on a survey of 320 patients enrolled in a methadone clinic in New York City, show that mixing HCV education with addiction treatment could have major benefits for the at-risk population. In the study, 50 percent of patients said they had tested positive for hepatitis C in the past. Nearly 80 percent said they were willing to participate in an education program and receive treatment for the disease.

Researchers also noted previous studies, which showed that these types of linked programs could significantly enhance the ability of injection drug users to complete a full course of hep C treatment.

To read the full report, titled Hepatitis C Virus—Related Knowledge and Willingness to Receive Treatment Among Patients on Methadone Maintenance, click here.