Syringe Exchange and Risk of Infection with Hepatitis B and C Viruses

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 03/1999; 149(3):203-13. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009792
Source: PubMed


The authors utilized a cohort study among Seattle injection drug users (IDUs) to assess whether participation in a syringe exchange program was associated with incidence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Susceptible IDU subjects (187 seronegative for antibody to HCV, and 460 seronegative for core antibody to HBV) were identified in drug treatment, corrections, and social service agencies from June 1994 to January 1996, and followed for seroconversion one year later. The subjects included in the analysis were Seattle-King County (Washington State) area IDUs enrolled in a larger multipurpose cohort study, the Risk Activity Variables, Epidemiology, and Network Study (RAVEN Study). There were 39 HCV infections (20.9/100/year) and 46 HBV infections (10.0/100/year). There was no apparent protective effect of syringe exchange against HBV (former exchange users, relative risk (RR) = 0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.2-2.5; sporadic exchange users, RR = 2.4, 95% CI 0.9-6.5; regular users, RR = 1.81, 95% CI 0.7-4.8; vs. RR = 1.0 for nonusers of the exchange; adjusted for daily drug injection). Neither did the exchange protect against HCV infection (sporadic users, RR = 2.6, 95% CI 0.8-8.5; regular users, RR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.8-2.2; vs. RR = 1.0 for nonusers; adjusted for recent onset of injection and syringe sharing prior to enrollment). While it is possible that uncontrolled confounding or other bias obscured a true beneficial impact of exchange use, these data suggest that no such benefit occurred during the period of the study.

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    • "Many injection drug users continue to have limited access to sterile syringes, continue to reuse and share injection equipment (Wood et al., 2002), and engage in high risk sexual behavior. Syringe exchanges may not protect against hepatitis (B and C) infection (Hagan et al., 1999); although a more recent systematic review and meta-analysis reported protective effects (Hagan, Pouget, & Des Jarlais, 2011). Because of uneven progress toward suppressing HIV and hepatitis C infection, advocates promote more aggressive risk reduction interventions including " safer injection sites " for PWID. "
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    ABSTRACT: Racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection, with minority groups typically having higher rates of infection, are a formidable public health challenge. In the United States, among both men and women who inject drugs, HIV infection rates are elevated among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks. A meta-analysis of international research concluded that among persons who inject drugs, racial and ethnic minorities were twice as likely to acquire an HIV infection, though there was great variation across the individual studies. To examine strategies to reduce racial/ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs, we reviewed studies on injection drug use and its role in HIV transmission. We identified four sets of evidence-based interventions that may reduce racial/ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs: HIV counseling and testing, risk reduction services, access to antiretroviral therapy, and drug abuse treatment. Implementation of these services, however, is insufficient in many countries, including the United States. Persons who inject drugs appear to be changing drug use norms and rituals to reduce their risks. The challenges are to (a) develop a validated model of how racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection arise, persist, and are reduced or eliminated over time and (b) implement evidence-based services on a sufficient scale to eliminate HIV transmission among all persons who inject drugs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · American Psychologist
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    • "Ȥ 2 < 0.001 16.54 11.71, 21.37 I 2 = 99.9, Ȥ 2 < 0.001 11.69 7.93, 15.44 0.00 20.00 40.00 60.00 macalino, 2004 khan, 2005 levine, 1996 des jarlais, 2003 des jarlais, 2003 hagan, 1999 "
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    ABSTRACT: High Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence and high risk behaviors have been well documented within United States (US) correctional systems. However, uncertainty remains regarding the extent to which placing people in prison or jail increases their risk of HIV infection, and regarding which inmate populations experience an increased incidence of HIV. Describing these dynamics more clearly is essential to understanding how inmates and former detainees may be a source for further spread of HIV to the general US population. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies describing HIV incidence in US correctional facility residents and, for comparison, in high risk groups for HIV infection, such as non-incarcerated intravenous drug users (IVDU) and men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US. HIV incidence rates were further compared with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Virus rates in these same populations. Thirty-six predominantly prospective cohort studies were included. Across all infection outcomes, continuously incarcerated inmates and treatment recruited IVDU showed the lowest incidence, while MSM and street recruited IVDU showed the highest. HIV incidence was highest among inmates released and re-incarcerated. Possible sources of heterogeneity identified among HIV studies were risk population and race. Although important literature gaps were found, current evidence suggests that policies and interventions for HIV prevention in correctional populations should prioritize curtailing risk of infection during the post-release period. Future research should evaluate HIV incidence rates in inmate populations, accounting for proportion of high risk sub-groups.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · BMC Public Health
    • "Consistent evidence from multiple robust studies within one or more supplementary reviews, in the absence of a core review Insufficient evidence from reviews to either support or discount the effectiveness of an intervention A statement of insufficient evidence from a core review, or Insufficient evidence to either support or discount the effectiveness of an intervention (either because there is too little evidence or the evidence is too weak), in the absence of a clear and consistent statement of evidence from (a)17]. None of these reviews examined HCV in any depth, and only Tilson et al. drew conclusions, stating there was moderate evidence that 'HIV prevention programs that include NSP' have less of an impact on HCV transmission than on HIV transmission. "
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    ABSTRACT: AIMS: To review the evidence on the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions involving the provision of sterile injecting equipment in the prevention of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission among injecting drug users (IDUs). The interventions assessed were needle and syringe programmes (NSP), alternative modes of needle/syringe provision (pharmacies, vending machines and outreach) and the provision of injecting equipment other than needles/syringes. METHODS: Systematic searches of the English language literature to March 2007 were undertaken to identify systematic, narrative or meta-analytical reviews (also known as a review of reviews) of the impact of interventions on HCV transmission, HIV transmission or injecting risk behaviour (IRB). Critical appraisal criteria classified the reviews as either high quality ('core') or supplementary: a framework based on the quality of reviews, the reviewers' conclusions and the designs/findings of the primary studies was used to derive evidence statements. RESULTS: Three core and two supplementary reviews of injecting equipment interventions were identified. According to the proposed framework, this study found (a) insufficient evidence to conclude that any of the interventions are effective in preventing HCV transmission; (b) tentative evidence to support the effectiveness of NSP in preventing HIV transmission; (c) sufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of NSP (and tentative evidence of an additional impact of pharmacy NSP) in reducing self-reported IRB; and (d) little to no evidence on vending machines, outreach or providing other injecting equipment in relation to any of the outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The evidence is weaker than given credit for in the literature. The lack of evidence for effectiveness of NSP vis-à-vis biological outcomes (HCV and HIV incidence/prevalence) reflects the limitations of studies that have been undertaken to investigate these associations. Particularly for HCV, low levels of IRB may be insufficient to reduce high levels of transmission. New studies are required to identify the intervention coverage necessary to achieve sustained changes in blood-borne virus transmission.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010
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