High hepatitis C virus prevalence and incidence in a community cohort of young heroin injectors in a context of extensive harm reduction programmes

Fernando Vallejo, Gregorio Barrio, M. Teresa Brugal, Jose Pulido, Carlos Toro, Luis Sordo, Albert Espelt, María J. Bravo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Cohort studies on hepatitis C virus (HCV) among drug injectors are scarcer than studies on HIV. Combined harm reduction interventions (HRIs) can prevent HCV infection. Spain has a medium-high coverage of HRIs. Methods 513 young heroin users who injected drugs in the past 12 months (recent injectors) were streetrecruited in 2001-2003 and followed until 2006 in three Spanish cities; 137 were anti-HCV seronegative, 77 of whom had =1 follow-up visit. Dried blood spots were tested for anti-HCV. HCV incidence and predictors of infection were estimated using Poisson models. Results At baseline, 73% were anti-HCV positive. Overall incidence (n=77) of HCV seroconversion was 39.8/100 person-years (py) (95% CI 28.7 to 53.8). Excluding non-injectors during follow-up from the analysis (n=57), HCV incidence was 52.9/100 py (95% CI 37.4 to 72.5). Injecting at least weekly (incidence rate ratio (IRR)=5.2 (95% CI 2.5 to 11.1)) and having ≤2 sexual partners (IRR=2.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 4.7)) were independent predictors of HCV seroconversion; druginjection history >2 years was marginally associated (IRR=2.4 (95% CI 0.9 to 4.7)). HCV incidence may have been underestimated due to differential attrition. Conclusions Despite fairly high HRI coverage among Spanish drug injectors, a distressingly high incidence of HCV in a context of high HCV prevalence was found among young heroin injectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-603
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'High hepatitis C virus prevalence and incidence in a community cohort of young heroin injectors in a context of extensive harm reduction programmes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this