Objectives. This study examined correlates of prevalent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among young adult injection drug users in 2 neighborhoods in New York City. Methods. Injection drug users aged 18 to 29 years were street recruited from the Lower East Side and Harlem. Participants were interviewed about drug use and sex practices; venipuncture was performed for hepatitis B virus (HBV), HCV, and HIV serologies. Results. In both sites, testing positive for HCV antibody (anti-HCV) was associated with having injected for more than 3 years. Additionally, HCV infection was positively associated with injecting with someone known to have had hepatitis (but the association was significant only in the Lower East Side) and with sharing cotton (but the association was statistically significant only in Harlem). Being in drug treatment and older than 24 years were associated with HCV in the Lower East Side but not in Harlem. Receiving money for sex was associated with anti-HCV positivity in Harlem but not in the Lower East Side. Conclusions. Several differences in factors associated with prevalent HCV infection existed among 2 populations of young injection drug users from the same city. Indirect transmission of HCV may occur.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health