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Unexpected HCV donor-derived transmissions on the rise

Unexpected HCV donor-derived transmissions on the rise

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Proportion of deceased donors with a history of IV drug use and death due to drug overdose during 2008 and 2018 by region

Based on data from the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).

If an organ donor is an active intravenous drug user, their risk of acute hepatitis C (HCV) infection is higher than almost any other behavioral risk factor.

The increasing opiate epidemic in the U.S. has impacted every region. Because of this tragedy, more transplants, especially those from donors that could place the potential recipient at increased risk of disease transmission, are being completed.

Though there is research detailing the successful use of organs from donors who are currently using and abusing drugs, challenges remain and clinicians and patients continue to be cautious, especially regarding the risks of inadvertently acquiring viral hepatitis and/or HIV.

Fortunately, hepatitis B remains relatively uncommon in the U.S. and unanticipated HIV transmissions have not been documented since the new Public Health Service (PHS) Increased Risk Guidelines were put into place in 2013. The safety and efficacy of HCV treatments in transplant is improving day by day, but according to cases studied in 2018 by the OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC), unexpected hepatitis C (HCV) donor-derived transmissions have been on the rise.

Read more about the committee’s findings and an update on its work presented at the spring 2019 regional meetings.

Read the HOPE Act proposal now

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