Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

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2.2.15

Breakthroughs in Hepatitis C Treatment Spark Need for Improved Patient Engagement and Medication Adherence

This week, we turn your attention to an overlooked and neglected disease that deserves a closer look. Contributing author Julia Hill is an MPH student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

In the United States, deaths due to Hepatitis C outnumber deaths caused by HIV, and yet, it’s not something that we hear much about. According to the CDC, chronic Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infectious disease, affecting approximately 3.2 million Americans.

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for the Hepatitis C virus. Once contracted, Hepatitis C often becomes a chronic condition. Over the course of decades, Hepatitis C gradually damages the liver, eventually causing organ failure or cancer, leading ultimately to liver transplantation or death.

Although treatment options for Hepatitis C can cure patients of the virus, there are substantial barriers to treatment uptake and adherence. Medications can cause serious physical and…

1.15.15

Warm Hugs Ward Off Colds

Clayton Velicer, MPH

Health goals are the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, such as losing weight, quitting smoke, exercising more, and eating healthier. It’s widely accepted that social support can help people achieve these health goals. However, did you know that social support can even protect you from catching a cold?

A recent study examined the effects of hugging and perceived social support on a person’s vulnerability to respiratory viruses.

At the start, participants were interviewed by telephone on 14 consecutive nights regarding the availability of social support. These nightly interviews asked questions about social activities, interpersonal tension or conflicts, and whether participants had been hugged.

One to 3 weeks after completion of the interviews, the participants were placed in “quarantine” in separate rooms on an isolated floor in a local hotel. Blood assessment of baseline antibody levels were conducted during the 5-day period before exposing…

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