Risk behaviors and HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C seroprevalence among injection drug users in Georgia

Ekaterine Shapatava, Kenrad E. Nelson, Tengiz Tsertsvadze, Carlos del Rio

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57 Scopus citations


Introduction: HIV is an emerging epidemic in Eastern Europe. Most HIV infections in this region have occurred among injection drug users (IDUs) and their sexual partners. The objective of this study was to determine the seroprevalence and risk behaviors for HIV, HBV, and HCV infection among IDUs in Georgia. Methods: Between 2000 and 2001, we studied 583 IDUs aged 18 to 46 years from 3 cities in Georgia. Tbilist, Poti, and Batumi, Structured questionnaires were administered to measure risk behaviors, including IDU, sexual, and other risks. Blood was drawn for HIV hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV) serologies. Results: 401 (68.8%) participants were seropositive for HCV; 322 (55.2%) for HBV (HBsAg or anti-HBc): and 10 (1.7%) for HIV, Heroin (58.7%) was the most frequently used drug, followed by homemade drugs (31.6%) and opium, (9.8%). In multivariate analysis, risk factors, for HCV and HBV infection included unsafe cleaning practices for injection parapheralia. The number of drug-using partners was associated with HCV infection. Sexual risk factors (i.e., the number of sex partners, paying for sex, and a history of sexually transmitted infections [STIs] were associated with HIV but not with HCV infection. Those injecting homemade drugs and optium most frequently reported risky drug-using behavior. Discussion: Our data suggest a high prevalence of HBV and HCV infection among IDUs in Georgia associated with significant drug- and needle-sharing behaviors. HIV seroprevalence appears to be relatively low and is associated with risky sexual behaviors, rather than drug-using behaviors. Further research is needed among Georgian IDUs to develop effective prevention strategies and limit the transmission of HIV in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S35-S38
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Georgia
  • Hepatitis
  • Injection drug use (IDU): HIV
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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