Non-injection drug use and Hepatitis C Virus: A systematic review

Roberta Scheinmann, Holly Hagan, Corina Lelutiu-Weinberger, Rebecca Stern, Don C.Des Jarlais, Peter L. Flom, Shiela Strauss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This systematic review examined the evidence on the prevalence of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) who sniff, smoke or snort drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack or methamphetamine. The search included studies published from January 1989 to January 2006. Twenty-eight eligible studies were identified and the prevalence of HCV in these NIDU populations ranged from 2.3 to 35.3%. There was substantial variation in study focus and in the quality of the NIDU data presented in the studies. The results of our systematic review suggested that there are important gaps in the research of HCV in NIDUs. We identified a problem of study focus; much of the research did not aim to study HCV in users of non-injection drugs. Instead, NIDUs were typically included as a secondary research concern, with a principal focus on the problem of transmission of HCV in IDU populations. Despite methodological issues, HCV prevalence in this population is much higher than in a non-drug using population, even though some IDUs might have inadvertently been included in the NIDU samples. These studies point to a real problem of HCV in NIDU populations, but the causal pathway to infection remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007

Keywords

  • Crack cocaine
  • Drug use
  • Epidemiology
  • HCV
  • Heroin
  • Non-injection drug use
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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