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medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders

Hepatitis

There are three major strains of hepatitis virus infection termed hepatitis A, virus infection, hepatitis B virus infection and hepatitis C virus infection. Drug and alcohol use, abuse and dependence play an important role in both the transmission of the virus from person to person as well as the severity of the liver disease that can result from viral hepatitis infection.

Persons at high risk for infection can be protected by vaccination against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Hepatitis A, a self-limiting food borne pathogen, can induce severe liver disease in drug users that are already infected with another hepatitis virus. Hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease, is transmitted in drug users who use stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, with multiple sex partners. Injection drug use is the major source of hepatitis C infection in Western countries. Treatment for hepatitis B infection and or hepatitis C infection is complex, difficult, requires long term treatment and is most effective for individuals who are abstinent from drug use. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption for person with viral hepatitis infection.

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