FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Prevention programs for long-distance truck drivers may help reduce risky behavior that can lead to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and hepatitis C, say U.S. researchers.
The researchers stationed mobile clinic vans at a trucking terminal in Albuquerque, N.M., and at 10 truck stops throughout the state. Of the 652 truck drivers who took part in the study, 54 (8.5 percent) tested positive for hepatitis C.
Alcohol consumption is a strong independent risk factor for the progression of hepatitis C-associated liver disease, the researchers noted. This risk factor could be reduced through patient education and behavior change, they said.
Overall, the findings highlight a need for hepatitis C screening and STI risk reduction among long-haul truckers.
"Our results suggest that drivers may benefit from HIV, STI and hepatitis prevention interventions embedded within comprehensive wellness programs that are convenient and easily integrated into the mobile environment of the trucking industry," the researchers concluded.
The study appears online and in the November print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about hepatitis C.