May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and CEG is participating by raising awareness of how the opioid and meth addiction crises in West Virginia intersect with the state’s grim record for having the highest rates of new Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) diagnoses in the United States.
In 2017, West Virginia reported the highest rates of new Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections in the U.S., with rates of 11.7 (per 100,000) and 5.6 (per 100,000), respectively. The national rate of new infections for both diseases is 1.0.
That same year, West Virginia had both the highest rate of overall drug overdose deaths (57.8 per 100,000), and the highest rate of opioid-related drug overdose deaths (49.6 per 100,000) in the U.S. The national overall and opioid-related drug overdose deaths are 21.7 and 14.5, respectively.
These statistics are not unrelated.
According to the West Virginia Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services, a majority of cases of both HBV and HCV reported injection drug use and/or street-drug use as the primary risk factor for transmission (OEPS, 2018).
CEG is working tirelessly to bring attention to West Virginia’s syndemic of Substance Use Disorder, HBV, HCV, and HIV, as well as the work of our state’s various Harm Reduction Programs – those run by both county health departments, non-profits, and Rural Health Service Providers.
Stay tuned to #CEGInWV’s website and social media pages as we reveal the exciting projects we have in store for both West Virginia and across the nation. While you’re waiting, be sure to get tested for Hepatitis on National Hepatitis Testing Day – May 19th, 2020.
West Virginia Office of Epidemiology & Prevention Services. (2018, April). HEPATITIS B AND HEPATITIS C INFECTION IN WEST VIRGINA 2016 – Surveillance Summary – April 2018. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources: Bureau for Public Health: Office of Epidemiology & Prevention Services: Hepatitis: Data and Surveillance: Summary Reports. Retrieved from: https://oeps.wv.gov/hepatitis/documents/data/Summary_2016_Acute_HBV-HCV.pdf