UPMC Hepatitis Letter
You have a fine site, and I am adding links to specific pages on the site I run, Heroin Helper--an information site for heroin users and their loved ones. However, there is a problem on your page about Hepatitis C. It states that the disease can be spread by:
"injecting illicit drugs with shared needles" and "injecting illicit drugs, especially with shared needle"
There are three problems with these statements.
- Sharing needles can cause the Hepatitis C virus to be spread. It does not matter whether the substance being injected is a legal drug, an illegal drug, or water. The issue is sharing syringes, not doing illegal drugs.
- Sharing syringes can only spread Hepatitis C from one person to another when the first person is infected with the virus (assuming the syringe is used just twice).
- My understanding is that the Hepatitis C virus can live in drug samples. In this case, doing any illegal drug may cause the spread of Hepatitis C. Administration route does not matter, and in fact, injection may be safer given that the sample will likely be boiled first. (I'm not suggesting that boiling will destroy the virus.)
I suggest that you change the content of that page to read as follows:
"Hepatitis C can be spread by sharing needles with an infected person."
"The hepatitis C virus can be found in samples of illegal drugs. The virus can then be spread to someone who uses the drug--regardless of the method of administration."
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Dr. H, Ph.D.
Heroin helper, Managing Editor