Hepatitis B virus infection and vaccination among young injection and non-injection drug users: Missed opportunities to prevent infection

Irene Kuo, Susan G. Sherman, David L. Thomas, Steffanie A. Strathdee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: We examined correlates of HBV infection and vaccination and the missed vaccination opportunities among young injection drug users (IDUs) and non-injection drug users (NIDUs). Methods: Two hundred IDUs and 124 NIDUs aged 15-30 years were studied. Demographics, drug use and sexual behaviors, and health and incarceration history data were collected. Serology was conducted for antibodies to HBV-core antigen (anti-HBc) and HBV-surface antigen (anti-HBs). Presence of anti-HBc indicated past HBV infection; presence of anti-HBs alone indicated past vaccination. Results: More IDUs had been infected with HBV in the past than NIDUs (37% versus 19%, P=0.001). Among male and female IDUs, injection drug use behaviors were significantly associated with past infection. For female IDUs, being African-American and trading sex were also associated with previous infection. Among NIDUs, being female and longer time since sexual debut were associated with past infection. Overall, 11% were vaccinated (10% IDU versus 14% NIDU, P=0.30). Younger age and drug treatment history were associated with vaccination. Most susceptibles (84%) experienced at least one missed opportunity for vaccination. Conclusion: Young drug users remain at high risk for HBV infection. Vaccination rates remain low despite multiple opportunities for vaccination. An integrated HBV immunization effort should be coordinated among venues frequented by young drug users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2004

Keywords

  • Hepatitis B
  • Immunology
  • Injection drug user
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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