Patterns of HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II in intravenous drug abusers from the middle atlantic and central regions of the USA

Helen H. Lee, Stanley H. Weiss, Lawrence S. Brown, Donna Mildvan, Vernon Shorty, Louis Saravolatz, Alvin Chu, Harold M. Ginzburg, Norman Markowitz, Don C. Des Jarlais, William A. Blattner, Allain Jean-Pierre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV-I/II) was determined among 1160 intravenous (iv) drug abusers from five drug treatment or medical centers (Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Detroit, and New Orleans). HIV-1 infection ranged from 5% in New Orleans to 48% in New York City. Hispanics and blacks had a significantly higher rate of HIV-1 infection than whites (P <.01), but within each group rates were similar between males and females and by age stratum. HTLV-I/II seroprevalence increased with age from 3% in the 20–29 year age group to 37% in the group >50 years. New Orleans and Manhattan (24%) had the highest rate, and blacks (19%) had a higher rate than either Hispanics (6.3%) or whites (7.3%). No association between HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II infection was observed except in Manhattan. When compared with iv drug abusers infected only with HIV-1, dually infected subjects had more clinical symptoms related to immune deficiency but a lower prevalence of HIV antigenemia. These data document the frequent occurrence of retroviral infections in iv drug abusers. The contrast between the two classes of virus suggests that HIV-1 is more efficiently transmitted, while the age-dependent rise in HTLV-I/II seroprevalence suggests cumulative exposure of a less-transmissible agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-352
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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