Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major global health burden affecting 1-2% of the world’s population. The majority of infected individuals will develop chronic infection and are at risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is currently no preventative vaccine available for HCV. In the developed world, the highest HCV incidence and prevalence rate is amongst intravenous drug users (IDU). The duration, frequency of IDU, and sharing of drug injecting equipment contribute to particularly high rates of HCV infection in this population. Individuals at high risk of recurrent exposure to HCV infection from long term IDU have been recruited in Plymouth, UK, from 2003 onwards and if they remain negative for HCV infection are termed exposed uninfected (EU). Understanding the factors that prevent HCV infection in this cohort could give valuable insight into the mechanisms of natural resistance to HCV infection.

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