Hepatitis C knowledge among new injection drug users

John J. Jost, Lloyd A. Goldsamt, Alex Harocopos, Paul Kobrak, Michael C. Clatts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: New injection drug users (IDUs) are vulnerable to hepatitis C infection from risky injection practices. This article considers the range of hepatits C virus (HCV) knowledge among participants in a 2-year study examining the behaviours of new IDUs. Methods: Respondents (n 36) were members of a cohort of new IDUs recruited in the New York City metropolitan area whose first injection occurred within the previous 18 months. Respondents were offered human immuno virus (HIV), hepatits B virus (HBV) and HCV testing. Two tested HIV positive and 12 tested HCV positive. During pre-test counselling they completed a qualitative interview focusing on aspects of HCV including: transmission, symptoms, long-term effects, prevention, treatment, concern regarding contracting HCV and how this concern impacted drug use and injection practices. Findings: Substantial gaps were seen in HCV knowledge. While respondents were aware that HCV is a blood-borne virus, the majority had only approximate knowledge regarding transmission, symptoms and effects. Respondents reported little discussion of HCV with peers and minimal concern about contracting HCV, especially compared with HIV. Conclusion: Accurate HCV information is failing to reach new IDUs, and new IDUs may not value the little information they do receive. More effective and innovative efforts are required to disseminate effective HCV prevention information to new IDUs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-834
Number of pages14
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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