Hepatitis C Demographics

Hepatitis C seems to be a disease that has chosen its victims in groups, often, though not always, from those less able to prevent this illness. We all know that too often it is the drug addict, sharing their needles with others like themselves who contract and spread the infectious Hepatitis C virus.

We feel little sympathy for them as they have chosen this lifestyle and the dangers that accompany illegal drug use. But what about the hemophiliacs, the war veterans and the homeless; they did nothing to deserve their fates and yet they are all linked together in their suffering.


War veterans make up the largest group of Hepatitis C suffers. Ten percent of all war veterans are infected with the Hepatitis C virus. This is mainly because of blood transfusions given during surgeries for injuries they had during the wars in which soldiers needed blood transfusions.

These were often given with tainted blood. Until 1992 when the test procedures greatly improved and blood transfusions became safer for everyone. The worst group affected is the Vietnam veterans where sixty two percent of them have been diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus.


Hemophiliacs are one of the groups where the circumstances seem to be so unfair. This group of people are at a higher than average because of the need for blood transfusions periodically. As well, they require regular use of blood products, like the blood-clotting factor, to help them to live their lives as normal as possible.

But, since Hepatitis C is transmitted from blood to blood they have had the unfortunate effects of poor testing. This improved slightly in 1987 and five years later, in 1992, even more stringent controls were put into place. But this was not before many hemophiliacs were infected.

Prison Population

Another big group of Hepatitis C sufferers is amongst the prison population. This is because of the high drug use in prison, but also because so many of those in prison have used illegal drugs at one time, twenty five percent admitting to using injectable drugs. The estimates are that of the one million seven hundred thousand intravenous drug users in the Untied States seventy percent have been through the prison system at some time in their lives.

Studies show that somewhere between thirty and sixty five percent of those in prison have the Hepatitis C virus. Another group with a high rate of hepatitis are homeless people. Just over twenty two percent are infected. Some of this is because of drug use.


Those with HIV are another group who too often have contracted the Hepatitis C virus as well. Thirty three percent of those with HIV have Hepatitis C. In part this is because so many of them contracted HIV through tainted blood and consequently got the Hepatitis C virus at the same time.

According to addictionrecoverybasics.com, alchoholics make up another population with higher than average Hepatitis C infections:

    “HCV infection is particularly common in alcoholics with liver disease . Heavy alcohol consumption accelerates patients progression from chronic HCV to cirrhosis (a condition in which fibrous scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue) and liver cancer (specifically, hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer).”