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The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence, distribution and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among homeless adults using eight Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) clinics nationally. (Authors)

Objectives: To describe the prevalence, distribution andrisk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among homelessadults using eight Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) clinicsnationally.

Methods: Data were collected for 387 participantsthrough blood draws, structured interviews, chart reviews.

Results:Overall prevalence of HCV-antibody positivity was 31.0%, including70.0% among injection drug users and 15.5% among reportednon-injectors. Much HCV infection was hidden as the majority (53.3%)of HCV-antibody positive participants was unaware of their status.Independent risk factors for HCV among the total sample includedinjection drug use, prison, and tattoos; among injectors, riskfactors included prison and three or more years of injection druguse; among reported non-injectors, risk factors included tattoos andprison.

Conclusion: These HCH clinics serve high concentrations ofHCV-infected injectors, making these and similar clinics priorityintervention sites for aggressive screening, education, testing, andtreatment for HCV and other blood-borne diseases. (Authors)