Thursday, January 21, 2010

San Francisco - Hep C task force launched

In an effort to address a growing public health concern, Mayor Gavin Newsom has established the San Francisco Mayor's Hepatitis C Task Force. 

In recent years it has become evident that HCV sexual transmission is more common than previously believed, with several outbreaks among HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in Europe and the U.S. Reported risk factors include fisting, "rough sex," group sex, and nasal drug use. About one-third of HIV-positive people are coinfected with HCV.
"I found out I was hep C coinfected about three years ago, but I was likely infected sexually more than 20 years ago," said task force co-chair and longtime HIV/AIDS public policy advocate Randy Allgaier. "I was never considered in an 'at risk' category, so my doctor and I never talked about an HCV test. Even I thought hep C was a disease associated with injection drug use. I am very open about my AIDS, but when I was diagnosed as hep C positive I had a hard time telling people – there was a great deal of stigma that I had to deal with."
[Hepatitis C is one type of hepatitis - a liver disease - caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It usually spreads through contact with infected blood. It can also spread through sex with an infected person and from mother to baby during childbirth.]

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