Journal Article

Hepatitis C Virus Infection in African Americans

Brian L. Pearlman

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 42, issue 1, pages 82-91
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/498512
Hepatitis C Virus Infection in African Americans

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Hepatitis C is more prevalent among African Americans than among persons of any other racial group in the United States. However, comparatively little data are available on the natural history and treatment of hepatitis C in this population. Compared with white persons, African American persons have a lower rate of viral clearance and, consequently, a higher rate of chronic hepatitis C. Nonetheless, African American persons may have a lower rate of fibrosis progression than do white persons. African American persons with hepatitis C–related cirrhosis have higher rates of both hepatocellular carcinoma and liver cancer–related mortality than do white persons with hepatitis C–related cirrhosis. In nearly all treatment trials that enrolled a significant proportion of African American subjects, such patients had inferior treatment responses, compared with those of white subjects. The prevalence of infection with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 is higher among African American patients than white patients, although this difference does not account for a greatly dissimilar response to therapy. Some of the postulated mechanisms for these disparate treatment responses and natural histories of infection are also reviewed.

Journal Article.  5760 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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