Journal Article

Hepatitis A Among Homosexual Men and Injection Drug Users: More Evidence for Vaccination

Stephen A. Villano, Kenrad E. Nelson, David Vlahov, Robert H. Purcell, Alfred J. Saah and David L. Thomas

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 726-728
Published in print September 1997 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 1997 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/513757
Hepatitis A Among Homosexual Men and Injection Drug Users: More Evidence for Vaccination

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As agencies develop guidelines for administering the newly developed hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine, information is needed regarding the occurrence of HAV infection in groups putatively at risk for the infection. We tested serum samples from 300 injection drug users (IDUs), 300 homosexual males, and 300 blood donors for the presence of total antibody to HAV (anti-HAV). Anti-HAV was detected in 66% of IDUs, 32% of homosexual males, and 14% of blood donors. Anti-HAV was not significantly associated (P > .10) with high-risk drug-using behaviors but was more prevalent among IDUs with annual incomes of <$5,000 (P = .018). The occurrence of anti-HAV increased among homosexual males as the number of sexual partners increased (P < .001) but was similar to the age-adjusted prevalence (30.6%) estimated for the general United States population. IDUs are at increased risk for HAV infection; however, our data suggest that factors related to low socioeconomic status contribute more to the occurrence of HAV infection among IDUs than does injection drug use. IDUs and persons at risk for injection drug use should receive HAV vaccine.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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