Summary. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and incidence of HIV and hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV) among injecting drug users in a Swedish needle exchange programme (NEP) and to identify risk factors for blood-borne transmission. A series of serum samples from NEP participants enrolled from 1997 to 2005 were tested for markers of HIV, HBV and HCV (including retrospective testing for HCV RNA in the last anti-HCV-negative sample from each anti-HCV seroconverter). Prevalence and incidence were correlated with self-reported baseline characteristics. Among 831 participants available for follow-up, one was HIV positive at baseline and two seroconverted to anti-HIV during the follow-up of 2433 HIV-negative person-years [incidence 0.08 per 100 person-years at risk (pyr); compared to 0.0 in a previous assessment of the same NEP covering 1990-1993]. The corresponding values for HBV were 3.4/100 pyr (1990-1993: 11.7) and for HCV 38.3/100 pyr (1990-1993: 27.3). HCV seroconversions occurred mostly during the first year after NEP enrolment. Of the 332 cases testing anti-HCV negative at enrolment, 37 were positive for HCV RNA in the same baseline sample (adjusted HCV incidence 31.5/100 pyr). HCV seroconversion during follow-up was significantly associated with mixed injection use of amphetamine and heroin, and a history of incarceration at baseline. In this NEP setting, HIV prevalence and incidence remained low and HBV incidence declined because of vaccination, but transmission of HCV was persistently high. HCV RNA testing in anti-HCV-negative NEP participants led to more accurate identification of timepoints for transmission.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Gastroenterology and Hepatology