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Medscape: Hepatitis C Virus Reinfection Uncommon Among People Who Inject Drugs

August 09, 2022 | Will Pass

Sarah Kattakuzhy, MD

Reinfection rates are low after treating hepatitis C virus in people taking opioid agonist therapy (OAT), even among those who still inject drugs, according to a new study.

The findings, which are based on prospective data from 13 countries, including the United States, and were published in Annals of Internal Medicine, should encourage physicians to treat HCV in people with a history of injection drug use, said lead author Jason Grebely, PhD. They should also pressure payers to lift reimbursement restrictions on the same population.


Sarah M. Kattakuzhy, MD, an associate professor in the division of clinical care & research at the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, agreed that the findings "support the critical nature of needle and syringe exchange programs."

"As most cities in the United States fall well below the high coverage needle and syringe program threshold required to maximally prevent disease transmission, the study serves as a push toward an evidence-based harm reduction policy," she said.

Kattakuzhy he added that the study "supports the need to longitudinally engage individuals after HCV treatment to monitor reinfection risk behaviors and test for reinfection," she continued.

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Vanessa McMains
Director of Media & Public Affairs
Institute of Human Virology
University of Maryland School of Medicine

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