Objectives: Approximately 4 million individuals are infected with Hepatitis C in the United States. Substance abusers are considered to be one of the highest risk groups, yet little is known about their general knowledge of Hepatitis C. This study compared knowledge of HIV and Hepatitis C risk factors and prevention strategies. Comparisons between intravenous drug users (IVDUs) and non-intravenous drug users (non-IVDUs) were also conducted. Methods: Treatment-seeking substance abusers (N = 110) completed an HIV/Hepatitis C knowledge assessment instrument as part of a recently instituted Hepatitis C counseling and education component in an outpatient research-treatment clinic. Results: A significant positive relationship was revealed between HIV and Hepatitis C knowledge, with proportionally lower scores on the Hepatitis C scale. IVDUs were also found to have higher levels of knowledge relative to non-IVDUs on both HIV (P < 0.028) and Hepatitis C (P < 0.002) knowledge scales. Discussion: Overall, substance abusers, particularly nonIVDUs, had proportionally less knowledge of risk and prevention strategies for Hepatitis C than HIV. Findings support the 2001 recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Hepatitis C counseling should be integrated into substance abuse treatment programs. Existing HIV counseling programs may serve as a vehicle for this integration.
- Hepatitis C