GB virus C infection among young, HIV-negative injection drug users with and without hepatitis C virus infection
Our study examined the association between GB virus C (GBV-C) and (i) hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection status, (ii) biomedical indicators of liver disease (alanine and aspartate aminotransferases) and (iii) HCV RNA level among young injection drug users (IDUs) recruited using street outreach and respondent-driven methods. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were completed. GBV-C (active or resolved) infection was significantly (P < 0.05) more prevalent among HCV antibody-positive (anti-HCV+) (65.1%) than antibody-negative (anti-HCV-) (32.3%) (OR = 3.9, 95% CI: 2.3-6.9) IDUs. The prevalence of resolved GBV-C infection was highest among those with chronic HCV infection (41.9%), followed by those with resolved HCV infection (34.4%) and significantly lower (P < 0.05) among anti-HCV participants (16.9%). Although not statistically significant (P = 0.13), a similar pattern was observed for active GBV-C infection. No association between GBV-C infection status and biomedical indicators of liver disease or HCV RNA level over time was observed. In conclusion, GBV-C infection prevalence was higher among anti-HCV+ compared to anti-HCV- young IDUs, similar to prior studies among older populations. In particular, chronically HCV-infected young IDUs had an increased rate of GBV-C clearance.
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