Association of sex, hygiene and drug equipment sharing with hepatitis C virus infection among non-injecting drug users in New York City

Chanelle J. Howe, Crystal M. Fuller, Danielle C. Ompad, Sandro Galea, Beryl Koblin, David Thomas, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) rates are higher in non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) than general population estimates. Whether this elevated HCV rate is due to drug use or other putative risk behaviors remains unclear. Methods: Recent non-injection drug users of heroin, crack and/or cocaine were street-recruited from 2000 to 2003 and underwent an interview and venipuncture for HCV antibody assays. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess correlates for HCV infection. Results: Of 740 enrollees, 3.9% were HCV positive. The median age (intraquartile range) was 30 (35-24) years, 70% were male and 90% were Black or Hispanic. After adjustment, HCV seropositives were significantly more likely than seronegatives to be older than 30 [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 5.71], tattooed by a friend/relative/acquaintance [AOR = 3.61] and know someone with HCV [AOR = 4.29], but were less likely to have shared nail or hair clippers, razors or a toothbrush [AOR = 0.32]. Conclusions: Non-commercial tattooing may be a mode of HCV transmission among NIDUs and education on the potential risk in using non-sterile tattooing equipment should be targeted toward this population. While no evidence was found for HCV transmission through NIDU equipment sharing or sexual risk behavior, further research is still warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-395
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • HCV transmission
  • Intranasal drug users
  • Non-injection drug use
  • Risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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