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Heroin Response: Infectious Diseases

Use of intravenous drugs significantly increases the risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Northern Kentucky has seen dramatic increases in hepatitis B and C case rates, with many cases being associated with IV drug use.

Hepatitis B
In 2014, there were 38 cases of acute hepatitis B in Northern Kentucky, a rate of 9.4 per 100,000 population. In comparison, the state case rate is 3.18 per 100,000 and the national rate is 0.83 per 100,000  (state and national rates are based on preliminary numbers). Local cases of hepatitis B doubled from 2006 to 2013. About one-third of those with hepatitis B who were contacted by the Health Department admitted to IV drug use as a risk factor for the infection. Hepatitis B fact sheet.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C testingCases of hepatitis C continue to rise in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties. In 2015, a total of 1,132 people were diagnosed with either acute or non-acute hepatitis C, according to preliminary case reports. Map of cases by ZIP code. This is an increase of 27 percent from 2014, when a total of 891 cases were reported. In 2014, Northern Kentucky had one of the highest rates of acute hepatitis C infection in the country, with a case rate of 10.9 per 100,000 population, compared to 2.68 per 100,000 in Kentucky and 0.55 per 100,000 nationwide (state and national rates for 2015 are not yet available). Hepatitis C fact sheet.

HIV
Northern Kentucky has the third highest rate of diagnosed HIV cases in Kentucky with 750, accounting for 8 percent of all HIV diagnoses in Kentucky. In 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available), 19 individuals in Northern Kentucky were diagnosed with HIV, a case rate of 4.2 per 100,000. Through targeted testing between July 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015, the Health Department administered 185 HIV tests. Of those tested, 14 (7.5 percent) reported sharing needles/works while using drugs as a risk factor for infection. HIV/AIDS fact sheet Information about HIV testing

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