Objectives: We examined relationships between herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), a biomarker for sexual risk, and HCV, a biomarker for injecting risk, with HIV among injecting drug users (IDUs) who began injecting after large-scale expansion of syringe exchange programs in New York City. Methods: We recruited 337 heroin and cocaine users who began injecting in 1995 or later from persons entering drug detoxification. We administered a structured interview covering drug use and HIV risk behavior and collected serum samples for HIV, HCV, and HSV-2 testing. Results: HIV prevalence was 8%, HSV-2 39%, and HCV 55%. We found a significant association between HSV-2 and HIV (odds ratio [OR]=7.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.9, 21.4) and no association between HCV and HIV (OR=1.14; 95% CI=0.5, 2.6). Black IDUs had the highest prevalence of HSV-2 (76%) and HIV (24%) but the lowest prevalence of HCV (34%). Conclusions: Most HIV infections among these IDUs occurred through sexual transmission. The relative importance of injecting versus sexual transmission of HIV may be critical for understanding racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health