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Authors

  1. Blessman, Donna Jean MS, RN, APN-BC, FNP

Abstract

Advanced practice nurses are faced with the clinical challenge of recognizing risk factors for chronic hepatitis C, not only in the native-born population, but also in the immigrant populations in the United States. Hispanics/Latinos constitute 13% of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing minority in the United States. A greater understanding of chronic hepatitis C in this populace was accomplished by reviewing current literature in the areas of natural history, epidemiology of risk factors, screening practices, and therapy outcomes. This review serves as a foundation for the creation of a culturally competent assessment tool for the screening of chronic hepatitis C in this population. The information from the literature review suggests that Hispanics/Latinos have an overall prevalence rate for chronic hepatitis C of 2.6%; have faster liver fibrosis progression rates; are infected at an earlier age; are more likely to be HIV coinfected; and show significantly higher alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and bilirubin levels. They also have more portal inflammation than do Caucasians and African Americans and a higher prevalence of cirrhosis than do African Americans-more so in Hispanic women than in Hispanic men. Transfusion, tattoos, and iatrogenic transfer are risk factors that need to be assessed.