URGENT REQUEST from the Global Burden of Disease – Illicit Drug Use Expert Group

From Prof Louisa Degenhardt – Chair, Illicit Drug Use Expert Group:

We are looking for data from around the world on hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV) prevalence among injecting drug users (IDUs). Do you have data from your country?

As part of work we are conducting for the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, we are undertaking a systematic review of existing data on the prevalence of HBV and HCV among injecting drug users. This work is being overseen by the Illicit Drug Use Expert Group and a team of researchers with expertise in undertaking systematic reviews (see www.gbd.unsw.edu.au). This is one of the first attempts to quantify the extent to which viral hepatitis is an issue faced by people who inject drugs on a global scale. Such estimates are crucial building blocks to inform responses to viral hepatitis at country, regional and global levels.

We are in the process of making estimates for every country around the world on:
– the prevalence of HCV among IDUs
– the prevalence of HBV among IDUs, with separate estimates for
o hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)
o antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc)

Many of you may be familiar with the estimates that were released by the Reference Group to the UN on HIV and injecting drug use (see www.idurefgroup.com). We hope to produce a similar set of estimates for HBV and HCV. This is challenging because in many countries, data may not be widely available. We have conducted a large search of the peer-reviewed literature, and are gathering as much grey literature (such as NGO and government reports) as possible. However, there will be some material that our search would have missed.

Do you have any information that may be of use to us? Any assistance will be acknowledged in the reports we are writing on this subject. Due to the tight timelines of this project we can only consider material received by Monday 17 January 2011. Many thanks in anticipation of any information you can provide, and for circulating to other colleagues who may be able to assist.

Have a happy and safe holiday.
Paul Nelson,
on behalf of Prof Louisa Degenhardt
Chair, Illicit Drug Use Expert Group
2010 Global Burden of Disease Study
Please direct all correspondence to gbd@med.unsw.edu.au