On June 20, UCSF published an article about PPHG’s Kim Page, PhD, MPS and her work on Hepatitis C in an article titled “Hepatitis C — Urgency to Fight Viral Foe Grows in the Suburbs and on the Streets.”
Public health officials have determined that 1 in 33 baby boomers is chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, and only about one-third of those infected are aware of it. If you are unfortunate enough to be homeless and to use drugs it might be difficult to get treatment, and that is where UCSF epidemiologist Kim Page comes in. With funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Page is developing guidelines so that other cities can adopt the San Francisco model of outreach, education, counseling and care development practiced at the Tenderloin Clinical Research Center.
Tailored to young injection drug users at the edge of a San Francisco neighborhood that has been riddled with drug addiction for decades, the staff offers non-judgmental assistance, including free meals and clothing. With concerns over the fact that the most deadly outcomes of infection by hepatitis C--liver cirrhosis and liver cancer--take decades to develop, Page wants there to be “as few barriers as possible for getting tested, so that people can access both treatment and prevention services.”
With NIH funding, Page and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University are working on studies to help with testing of a vaccine to prevent infection, and she helps lead a large epidemiological study known as the International Collaboration of Incident HIV and HCV (hepatitis C virus) in Injecting Cohorts, through which researchers are pooling data for nearly 6,000 people from nine international studies.
“Testing for HCV needs to be expanded to multiple sites and venues,” according to Page. “We have to be broader in targeting hepatitis testing outside the world of HIV testing. Despite some overlap, the population at risk for HCV is broad and encompasses many groups, ages and cultures.”