Treating hepatitis C in African Americans

Lennox J. Jeffers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The epidemiology, natural history and response to therapy of chronic hepatitis C differs significantly between African Americans and other ethnic populations. The reasons for these differences are not entirely clear but include mode of transmission, viral kinetics, immune responsiveness, and demographics. Objective: Review of the peer-reviewed literature and expert opinion from 1990 to 2005 regarding features of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in African Americans, differences in presentation and response to therapy, and treatment recommendations. Results: The epidemiology of HCV infection in African Americans appears to be predominantly associated with socio-economic status and high-risk behaviors. However, disease course, response to treatment, and virologic outcome may be a function of race. African Americans may clear HCV less efficiently than other ethnic groups, although impaired immune responsivity may also lead to decreased necro-inflammatory activity and progression to cirrhosis. Therapy-naive African Americans have lower sustained virologic response rates to this treatment than other populations. Conclusions: Strategies to improve outcomes in African Americans include higher doses of current medications, medications with fewer adverse events, and new experimental molecular therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-322
Number of pages10
JournalLiver International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Adverse effects
  • African American
  • Epidemiology
  • Hepatitis
  • Interferon
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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