Stopping the Spread of Hep C Among Intravenous Drug-Using Teens

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and globally among young adult intravenous drug users. New outbreaks of the virus have emerged in rural and suburban areas of the United States and may be the cause of an increase of the virus.

An article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases explores various prevention strategies that have not yet been extensively researched or implemented, such as:

  • Reducing sharing of drug preparation equipment
  • Hepatitis C screening, testing, and counseling
  • Risk reduction within injecting relationships
  • Injection cessation and “breaks”
  • Scaled-up needle distribution, HCV treatment, and vaccines

With the spread of hepatitis C across the country, it is important that researchers continue exploring various treatment and prevention efforts.

More About Hep C

  • A hep C infection can scar the liver and eventually lead to cirrhosis, usually after many years. In a number of cases, those suffering from cirrhosis will develop liver failure, liver cancer, or life-threatening esophageal and gastric variances.
  • The virus is spread primarily through blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use.
  • There are a few medications used to treat hepatitis C, but only about 50 to 80 percent of people are cured in this fashion. Those who develop liver disease often require a liver transplant. A vaccine for hepatitis C has not yet been created.
  • It is believed that 10 million IDUs are infected with the hepatitis C virus. China, the United States, and Russia have the highest number of infected individuals.
  • Hepatitis C has an incubation period of two weeks to six months. The majority of people do not exhibit any symptoms following initial infection.
  • For those who are acutely symptomatic, it is common to experience fever, fatigue, nausea, decreased appetite, dark urine, abdominal pain, vomiting, joint pain, and jaundice.

Help Is Available

If your son is using needles, you cannot wait to take action. One option is immediate enrollment in an extensive addiction treatment program that will help them to break free from addiction and learn new coping mechanisms and life skills going forward.

Here at Muir Wood, we offer a unique mix of indoor and outdoor therapies that are evidence-based in their ability to help teen boys move through toward a state of balance. Contact us at our call center today, or download an information packet and get the assistance you need to help your son begin his personal journey to recovery today.