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Am J Public Health. 2014 May;104(5):816-21. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301812. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Confronting the emerging epidemic of HCV infection among young injection drug users.

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  • 1Ronald Valdiserri and Corinna Dan are with the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC. Jag Khalsa and Wilson Compton are with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, MD. Robert Lubran is with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD. Scott Holmberg, Jon Zibbell, and Deborah Holtzman are with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.


Hepatitis C virus infection is a significant public health problem in the United States and an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Recent reports document HCV infection increases among young injection drug users in several US regions, associated with America's prescription opioid abuse epidemic. Incident HCV infection increases among young injectors who have recently transitioned from oral opioid abuse present an important public health challenge requiring a comprehensive, community-based response. We summarize recommendations from a 2013 Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy convening of experts in epidemiology, behavioral science, drug prevention and treatment, and other research; community service providers; and federal, state, and local government representatives. Their observations highlight gaps in our surveillance, program, and research portfolios and advocate a syndemic approach to this emerging public health problem.

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