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Effectiveness of measures to prevent spread of HIV but not hepatitis C among Australian IDUs.


Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(1):145 (abstract no. Mo.C.1518). Unique

Objective: To facilitate minimisation of spread of HIV and other blood borne viral infections (BBVIs) in Australian injecting drug users (IDUs) by assessing exposure to and risks of infection. Methods: This four city cross-sectional study conducted in 1994 recruited stratified samples designed to adequately represent women, youths, IDUs never previously in treatment and residents of outer suburbs. Respondents were recruited from diverse venues and were remunerated. Trained interviewers administered a questionnaire and collected fingerprick blood spots for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing. Results: 872 respondents were recruited and consented to participate. 832 (95.3%) blood samples were collected. 26 respondents (3.1%) were HIV antibody positive (of whom 69% were homosexual men). 432 respondents 54.8%) were anti-HCV positive and 113 (18.9%) were HBcAb positive. Over 90% reported using a sterile needle and 3.8% reported sharing a needle with another person on the last injecting occasion. 12% reported sharing a needle with another person during the previous month. Half (49.2%) had attended a needle exchange in the previous month. Conclusions: Vigorous and early implementation of prevention measures has made a major outbreak of HIV in this population unlikely (except situations where prevention measures are unavailable such as in prisons). Current risk behaviour could allow slow diffusion of HIV among and from IDUs. Despite prevention measures adequate to control HIV, hepatitis C infection remains uncontrolled. Strategies to bring hepatitis C under control are urgently required in Australia and other countries where HIV prevalence among IDUs remain low.

*Hepatitis C/EPIDEMIOLOGY *HIV Infections/PREVENTION & CONTROL *Substance Abuse, Intravenous


Information in this article was accurate in January 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.