People who discover they have hepatitis C virus through testing conducted at an addiction treatment center are inclined to moderate their drug use during the following year.

Presenting their findings at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Washington, DC, researchers conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of electronic health data, urine toxicology and hep C antibody test results from a network of 43 addiction treatment clinics in Ontario, covering 2000 to 2013 data.

A total of 2,406 individuals were tested for hep C during this period, of whom 527 (21.9 percent) tested positive for the virus. The researchers analyzed evaluations of substance use conducted one year following hep C testing. After controlling for age, sex and geographic location, they found that those who tested positive were 53 percent more likely to significantly alter their substance-use behaviors and lower their use of nonprescribed opioids as well as benzodiazepines and cocaine, compared with those who tested negative for the virus.

To read the conference abstract, click here.