ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of hepatitis C virus infection among injecting drug users in a community-based setting in Tehran, Iran. In October 2004, injecting drug users were recruited from a drop-in centre and neighboring parks and streets in a drug-populated neighborhood in Tehran. Participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, and a sample of oral mucosal transudate was collected for detection of HIV and HCV antibodies. Overall, 105 of 202 participants (52.0%) were found to be positive for HCV-antibody testing. After adjustment for the basic demographic characteristics, the prevalence of HCV infection was found to be associated with length of drug injection (more than 10 years) [odds ratio (OR), 3.25; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.43-7.38], length of lifetime incarcerations (more than a year) (OR, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.68-7.06), and a history of being tattooed inside prison (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.06-3.62). High prevalence of HCV infection and its association with incarceration-related exposures are important implications for harm reduction initiatives for drug using inmates in Iran. While prevention interventions for drug using inmates are being expanded in Iran, it is important that high prevalence of HCV infection be taken into consideration in order to control further transmission of this infection.
The International journal on drug policy 11/2007; 18(5):359-63. · 2.54 Impact Factor