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Health disparities among African-American and Hispanic drug injectors – HIV, AIDS, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus: a review

Estrada, Antonio L

doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000192070.95819.7c
Section I: Vulnerable populations

Disparities in healthcare access, medical outcomes, and specific chronic diseases have been documented for African-American and Hispanic individuals in comparison with non-Hispanic whites. What may be less well known are those health disparities related to common blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Several studies have shown that African-American and Hispanic injection drug users (IDU) have higher prevalence rates of these blood-borne pathogens, in addition to higher prevalence rates of HIV infection and AIDS cases. These blood-borne pathogens may contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality among African-American and Hispanic IDU, and perhaps also that of their sexual partners. This article reviews some of what is currently known about the epidemiology of HIV, AIDS, HBV, and HCV among African-American and Hispanic individuals, in general, and IDU in particular. In order to reduce or eliminate these health disparities a comprehensive approach is required that includes case finding, pre and post-test counseling, clinical treatment and management, and community-based behavioral or structural interventions.

From the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.

Correspondence to Antonio L. Estrada, Professor and Director, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, The University of Arizona, Cesar E. Chavez Bldg. 23, Room 208C, P.O. Box 210023, Tucson, AZ 85721-0023, USA. E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.