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Reuters Health Information (2004-06-28): HCV & HIV common in young Canadian drug users


HCV & HIV common in young Canadian drug users

Last Updated: 2004-06-28 15:40:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Coinfection with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV is prevalent in a "shocking" number of young injection drug users, according to Canadian researchers.

In the June 1st issue of the Journal of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndromes, Dr. Carl L. Miller of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and colleagues note that they sought to determine the incidence of such coinfections and to compare the socioeconomic characteristics of those infected.

The researchers used data from the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study to identify 479 subjects aged 29 years or less. At baseline, 78 (16%) were coinfected and a further 45 (15%) became so over the course of the study.

Baseline infection was independently associated with factors including being female, being of aboriginal ancestry, being older and with the number of years of injecting.

Borrowing needles and injecting cocaine more than once a day were both among the factors associated with the time to secondary infection seroconversion. Having recently attended a methadone maintenance program was protective.

Across the categories of coinfected, monoinfected and HIV and HCV negative injection drug users, say the investigators, there were "clear trends for increasing proportions" of women, aboriginals, daily cocaine users and inhabitants of Vancouver's 10-block injection drug use epicenter.

The researchers, who note that it took a median of 3 years for seroconversion to secondary infection, conclude that "appropriate public health interventions should be implemented immediately."

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2004;36:743-749.

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