Markers and risk factors for HCV, HBV and HIV in a network of injecting drug users in Melbourne

Miller, Emma, Hellard, Margaret, Bowden, Scot, Bhardwaj, Mandvi and Aitken, Campbell K. 2009, Markers and risk factors for HCV, HBV and HIV in a network of injecting drug users in Melbourne, Journal of infection, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 375-382, doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2009.02.014.

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Title Markers and risk factors for HCV, HBV and HIV in a network of injecting drug users in Melbourne
Author(s) Miller, Emma
Hellard, Margaret
Bowden, Scot
Bhardwaj, Mandvi
Aitken, Campbell K.
Journal name Journal of infection
Volume number 58
Issue number 5
Start page 375
End page 382
Total pages 8
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2009-05
ISSN 0163-4453
Keyword(s) Drug injectors
Hepatitis C virus
hepatitis B virus
Risk factors
Summary Background and aims: Current injecting drug users (IDU) in major street drug markets within greater Melbourne were recruited to a longitudinal study on blood borne viruses. Here we investigated risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV infection in these IDU at the time of their recruitment.

Methods : Three hundred and eighty-two IDU completed detailed questionnaires on their drug use and risk behaviours, and provided blood samples for serology testing. These data were analysed using univariate and multivariate techniques.

: The overall prevalence of exposure to HCV, HBV and HIV was estimated at 70%, 34% and <1%, respectively. Independent predictors of HCV exposure were history of imprisonment (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.19–1.52), use of someone else's needle or syringe (RR 1.23, 95% CI 1.07–1.42), >7.6 years length of time injecting (RR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07–1.37), and originating from Vietnam (RR 1.12, 95% CI 1.07–1.18). Independent predictors of HBV exposure were HCV exposure (RR 2.15, 95% CI 1.35–3.43), >7.6 years length of time injecting (RR 1.57, 95% CI 1.17–2.13) and originating from outside Australia (RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.22–2.10). Neither prison- nor community-applied tattoos predicted HCV or HBV exposure. Up to 31% of IDU who injected for 1 year or less were HCV antibody positive, as were 53% of those who injected for 2 years or less.

Conclusions : Ongoing engagement with young IDU, through the provision of harm reduction education and resources, is critical if we are to address blood borne viral infections and other health and social harms associated with injecting drug use.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.jinf.2009.02.014
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, The British Infection Society
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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