Study: Blacks Now Face Hep C Triple Threat

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    African Americans face a “triple whammy” when it comes to the hepatitis C virus, a new study finds.

    Two aspects of this triple threat are well known: the high prevalence of the virus in the African-American community and the lower response to therapy of infected individuals, according to Zobair Younossi, MD, of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Va.

    But there’s a third threat: African Americans don’t spontaneously clear the virus as often as other racial and ethnic groups, Younossi reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

    “I would call it a triple whammy — high prevalence, lower chance of spontaneous clearance, and then the lower chance of sustained virologic response,” said Younossi.

    “This is the population that we really need to focus on and develop something that will help,” he said during a poster presentation.

    Younossi and colleagues analyzed data collected from 2005 to 2008 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which included clinical and laboratory data on nearly 15,000 participants.

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