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Medical News

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Adolescents in Detention

November 14, 2005

In order to assess the prevalence and correlates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a sample of detained adolescents, the researchers undertook a cross-sectional prevalence study with adolescents ages 10-18 who were consecutively admitted to a juvenile detention facility in San Antonio, Texas.

The study involved 1,002 participants; 75 percent were Hispanic; mean age was 15. Lab data on 20 subjects were consistent with HCV infection, for an overall prevalence of 2.0 percent. All HCV-infected adolescents were Hispanic; 13 were boys, and 7 were girls. A large proportion of participants reported having used intranasal drugs (55.6 percent), or gotten a tattoo (50.5 percent) or a body piercing (25.3 percent). However, only a history of injection drug use was significantly associated with HCV infection. Injection drug use was reported by 5.3 percent of all participants but by 95 percent, 19 of the 20, who were HCV-infected.

The researchers concluded that injection drug use was linked with the majority of HCV infections in this population of detained adolescents, similar to findings for adults. "These adolescents reported a high frequency of other behaviors that could potentially pose a risk for contracting bloodborne infections," the authors wrote. "Effective prevention and awareness programs in a detention setting need to be comprehensive and include screening, hepatitis A and B immunizations, and risk-reduction counseling."

Back to other news for November 14, 2005

Adapted from:
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
11.05.05; Vol. 159; No. 11: P. 1015-1018; Rita M. Blair, M.D., M.P.H.; Jacques G. Baillargeon, Ph.D.; Patricia J. Kelly, R.N., Ph.D.; Sarah J. Lerand, M.D.; Janet F. Williams, M.D.; Rob Lyerla, Ph.D.; Miriam J. Alter, Ph.D.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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