Viral infections in short-term injection drug users: The prevalence of the hepatitis C, hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency, and human T-lymphotropic viruses

Richard S. Garfein, David Vlahov, Noya Galai, Meg C. Doherty, Kenrad E. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence and correlates of four blood-borne viral infections among illicit drug injectors with up to 6 years of injecting experience. Methods. We analyzed data from 716 volunteers recruited in 1988 and 1989. Test results for hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus, type 1 (HIV), and human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV) were examined across six sequential cohorts defined by duration of drug injection. Results. Overall, seroprevalence of HCV, HBV, HIV, and HTLV was 76.9%, 65.7%, 20.5% and 1.8%, respectively, and 64.7%, 49.8%, 13.9%, and 0.5%, respectively, among those who had injected for 1 year or less. Among the newest initiates, HCV and HBV were associated with injecting variables, and HIV was associated with sexual variables. Conclusions. The high rates of HCV, HBV, and HIV infections among short-term injectors emphasizes the need to target both parenteral and sexual risk reduction interventions early. Renewed efforts at primary prevention of substance abuse are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume86
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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