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African Americans and Hepatitis C
There are clear differences in terms of chronicity, and disease progression, among different ethnic and racial groups with regard to hepatitis C. Nowhere are these differences more pronounced than in the African American population when compared with other racial or ethnic groups with hepatitis C. For instance, African Americans are more likely to have been exposed to HCV and are less likely to resolve acute HCV infection compared to other racial/ethnic groups. There are some studies that suggest that African Americans may have slower natural HCV disease progression. The reasons for these differences are largely unknown because African Americans have not been adequately represented in clinical trials. There have been two studies, however, that have shed some light on these important questions—Virahep-C sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Genentech and recent findings from studies of a variation of a certain gene called IL28B.
Bleeding Disorders & Hepatitis C
Before effective screening of the blood supply and viral inactivation techniques were introduced in the mid 1980’s, the population most at risk for getting hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis B was largely made up of those with various types of bleeding disorders. This is because the standard treatment at the time was either to use whole blood transfusions or infusions of cryoprecipitates derived from frozen blood plasma.
In the past genotype 2 and 3 information has been lumped together. More recent information has emerged that there are clear differences between these 2 genotypes with respect to prevalence, disease progression and treatment cure rates. Interestingly, there is also substantial data about how genotype 2 migrated from Africa to other parts of the world via the slave trade in the 16th,17th, and 18th centuries.
Up until recently genotype 3 has been one of the most difficult genotypes to treat with direct acting antiviral medications. Now there are treatments that can cure more than 90% of people who are treated. It is important to treat people with genotype 3 because it can contribute to the development of steatosis (fatty liver disease) and insulin resistance, both of which can directly influence HCV disease progression including cirrhosis and liver cancer
HCV & Native American Peoples
The prevalence of hepatitis C (HCV) in the Native American population in the United States is believed to be higher than in the general population. Unfortunately, there have been very few research papers on Native Americans and hepatitis C. This article will discuss three papers that have been published.
Hepatitis C and U. S. Hispanics
There are an estimated 40 million Hispanics living in the United States. Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S. By the year 2050, 25% of the U.S. population will be of Hispanic origin. The number of Hispanics with hepatitis C (2.6%) is higher than the number of people with hepatitis C in the general population (1.3%). Hepatitis C disease progression has been shown to be faster in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic Whites. Treatment of hepatitis C, however, has been found to be as effective in Hispanics as it is in Whites.