Women who inject drugs are at greater risk of acquiring hepatitis C (HCV) infection, independent of other factors such as risk behaviors or demographic characteristics. Researchers reviewed data from the InC3 Collaborative, which combines data from 10 different studies that collect information on incident cases of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) among people who inject drugs (PWID). Their analysis shows that compared to men, women who inject drugs have a 38% higher risk of incident HCV not explained by individual injection risk behaviors such as receptive syringe sharing. The authors hypothesize that multiple factors may contribute to this disparity, including biological (hormonal) characteristics, social networks, and differences in access to prevention services. The article concludes by pointing to the need for further research on the various factors that may make women more susceptible to HCV, which will enable the design of interventions to more effectively reduce HCV acquisition in women.
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