Research You Can Use: A Strategy Toward Hepatitis C Elimination

Updated: Oct 1

Supporting Opioid Substitution Treatment and Hepatitis C Treatment in People Who Inject Drugs: A Strategy Toward Hepatitis C Elimination

Supported by an educational grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Mark S. Gold, MD

Prevalence of infectious diseases is substantially higher among patients with substance use disorders (SUDs). There are factors associated with drug use that increase the risk of infections, such as sharing needles and injecting supplies, presence of contaminants in drugs and drug use–related paraphernalia, risky behaviors associated with drug use, immune suppression secondary to chronic drug use, poverty, and homelessness. Persons with SUDs have low rates of health care utilization and may miss opportunities for early diagnosis and care of infectious complications of substance use. When infectious diseases are comorbid with drug use, they are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and result in significant health care costs [1,2].