By The Associated Press December 2, 2016 12:57 pm12/02/2016 12:57pm
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s top health official is warning that the state could soon face skyrocketing rates of hepatitis C and HIV due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2fPf5W6 ) reports state health commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine said at a Virginia Board of Health meeting Thursday that opioid use is spurring on the two deadly infections. She predicted that a “tidal wave of hepatitis C” is coming.
A Virginia Department of Health report says cases of hepatitis C are rising in the state, with the primary infection risk being injection drug use. The infection can lead to liver disease.
Over 8,000 hepatitis C cases were reported last year, an increase of about 1,400 from 2014.
Since 2011, the number of new cases of HIV in Virginia has hovered around 1,000.