Factors Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Injection and Noninjection Drug Users in Italy

Medical Service for Addictive Disorders and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy.
Clinical Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 8.89). 08/2003; 37(1):33-40. DOI: 10.1086/375566
Source: PubMed


We describe the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among noninjection users of heroin in Italy and compare the prevalence of HCV infection among noninjection drug users (NIDUs) and injection drug users (IDUs). Multiple logistic regression analysis of data from NIDUs showed that hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection status was the only independent predictor of HCV seroprevalence. Among IDUs, the number of years of drug use and HBV and human immunodeficiency virus infection status were independent predictors of HCV seropositivity. We found an HCV infection prevalence of 20% among NIDUs. This rate was much lower than that for IDUs, who are 11 times more likely to have antibodies against HCV. The prevalence of HCV infection was much higher than that of HBV infection among the IDUs. In contrast, the prevalence of HBV infection was slightly higher than that of HCV infection among unvaccinated NIDUs. The prevalence of HCV infection among long-term IDUs approached true population saturation; among long-term NIDUs, however, it appeared to plateau at approximately 40%. Additional research on HCV infection among NIDUs is needed to develop a strategic prevention program for this patient subgroup.

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    • "Studies comparing injectors and non-injectors have been performed in, for example, North America, Europe and Asia and have reported a variety of differences in characteristics. In terms of sociodemographic characteristics, some studies suggest that non-injectors are more likely to be younger [16,19,27] and female [27]. However, other studies found no significant differences between injectors and non-injectors with regard to age and gender [10,28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Injecting drug users are at increased risk for harmful effects compared to non-injecting drug users. Some studies have focused on differences in characteristics between these two groups (e.g., housing, overall health). However, no study has investigated the specific Dutch situation which in the last years has seen a decrease in homelessness among problematic hard-drug users and an increasing focus on physical health in low-threshold addiction care. The purpose of this study was to determine differences in sociodemographic, drug use and health characteristics between never-injecting (NIDUs), former-injecting (FIDUs) and current-injecting drug users (IDUs) and describe injecting practices. A total of 202 problematic hard-drug users (NIDU = 64; FIDU = 76; IDU = 62) were recruited from 22 low-threshold care facilities, including drug consumption rooms, methadone maintenance treatment, heroin-assisted therapy, day shelter and/or night shelter, supported housing and day activity centres. Data were collected on-site through structured face-to-face interviews. Results indicate that IDUs represented a separate group of problematic hard-drug users, with distinct sociodemographic and drug use characteristics. Overall, IDUs appeared to be the group with least favourable characteristics (unstable housing/homelessness, illegal activities, polydrug use) and NIDUs appeared to have the most favourable characteristics (stable housing, help with debts, less polydrug use). The FIDU group lies somewhere in between. The three groups did not differ significantly in terms of health. Regarding injecting practices, results showed that majority of IDUs had injected drugs for over 10 years and IDUs injected heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and/or methadone in the past 6 months. Sharing syringes was not common. A quarter reported public injecting. Unstable housing and homelessness are related to (former) injecting drug use, and stable housing is related to never-injecting drug use. Our study suggests that the number of 'new' IDUs is low. However, public injecting among IDUs is not uncommon and is associated with unstable housing. This emphasizes the potential of housing projects as a component of harm reduction measures. Therefore, prevention of (risks associated with) injecting drug use and supported housing programmes for problematic hard-drug users deserve the continuous attention of policymakers and professionals in low-threshold addiction care.
    Harm Reduction Journal 02/2014; 11(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1477-7517-11-6 · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Our finding showed that the longer the duration of heroin use, the more likely it was that the person was infected with HCV. This was consistent with findings from a study from Italy (Quaglio et al., 2003). Our results indicated that earlier intervention for heroin might be important to prevent HCV transmission in heron users. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the prevalence and correlates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among heroin dependent individuals who received methadone maintenance therapy in Taiwan. Also, we investigate users' awareness of HCV. Participants were 773 heroin users entering the methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) program at Tsaotun Psychiatric Center in Taiwan. The presence of HCV antibodies was detected. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the relationship between HCV infection and correlates. The prevalence of HCV infection was 90.8%. All participants who were HIV-positive were also infected with HCV. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the route of heroin administration (injection), HIV-infection, and criminal records were significantly related to HCV infection. Few (34.8%) HCV positive heroin users were aware of their infection. An extremely high prevalence of HCV infection but low awareness of their infection status was found among MMT patients in Taiwan. These findings highlight the importance of education regarding risky behaviors and the necessity for HCV treatment for this population in Taiwan.
    Addictive behaviors 04/2013; 38(4):2089-93. DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.01.010 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    • "Prevalence of HCV among nIDUs varies in Europe between 10 and 20% [4] and remains higher than among the general population. The same prevalence trend is observed among nIDUs for HBV and HIV infections [4-6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Luxembourg, viral hepatitis and HIV infection data in problem drug users (PDUs) are primarily based on self-reporting. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of HAV, HBV, HCV and HIV infections in ever injecting (IDUs) and non-injecting drug users (nIDUs) including inherent risk factors analysis for IDUs. Secondary objectives were immunisation against HAV and HBV, referral to care and treatment facilities as well as reduction in risk behaviour. A nationwide, cross-sectional multi-site survey, involving 5 in-, 8 out-treatment and 2 prison centres, included both an assisted questionnaire (n = 368) and serological detection of HIV and Hepatitis A, B, C (n = 334). A response rate of 31% resulted in the participation of 310 IDUs and 58 nIDUs. Risk factors such as drug use, sexual behaviour, imprisonment, protection and health knowledge (HAV, HBV status and immunisations, HCV, HIV), piercing/tattoo and use of social and medical services were studied by means of chi2 and logistic models. Seroprevalence results for IDUs were 81.3% (218/268, 95%CI=[76.6; 86.0]) for HCV, 29.1% (74/254, 95%CI=[25.5;34.7 ]) for HBV (acute/chronic infection or past cured infection), 2.5% (5/202, 95%CI=[0.3; 4.6]) for HIV-1 and 57.1% (108/189, 95%CI=[50.0; 64.1]) for HAV (cured infections or past vaccinations). Seroprevalence results for nIDUs were 19.1% (9/47, 95%CI=[7.9;30.3]) for HCV, 8.9% (4/45, 95%CI=[0.6;17.2]) for HBV (acute/chronic infection or past cured infection), 4.8% (2/42, 95%CI=[-1.7;11.3]) for HIV-1 and 65.9% (27/41, 95%CI=[51.4;80.4]) for HAV. Prisoners showed the highest rates for all infections. Age, imprisonment and setting of recruitment were statistically associated with HCV seropositivity. Age, speedball career and nationality were significantly associated with HBV seropositivity. Only 56% of the participants in outpatient centres collected their serology results and 43 doses of vaccine against HAV and/or HBV were administered. Despite the existing national risk-reduction strategies implemented since 1993, high prevalence of HCV and HBV infections in injecting drug users is observed. Our study showed that implementing risk-prevention strategies, including immunisation remains difficult with PDUs. Improvement should be looked for by the provision of field healthcare structures providing tests with immediate results, advice, immunisation or treatment if appropriate.
    BMC Public Health 05/2011; 11(1):351. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-351 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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