Journal Article

Prevalence of Antibodies to Hepatitis C in a Population of Intravenous Drug Users in Valencia, Spain, 1990–1992

FRANCISCO BOLUMAR, ILDEFONSO HERNANDEZ-AGUADO, LIDIA FERRER, ISABEL RUIZ, Ma JOSÉ AVIÓ and MARISA REBAGLIATO

in International Journal of Epidemiology

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 204-209
Published in print February 1996 | ISSN: 0300-5771
Published online February 1996 | e-ISSN: 1464-3685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/25.1.204
Prevalence of Antibodies to Hepatitis C in a Population of Intravenous Drug Users in Valencia, Spain, 1990–1992

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Background

Hepatitis C has been related to other viral diseases such as the human Immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) or hepatitis B (HBV). The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) in intravenous drug users (IVDU) in Valencia (Spain) and to compare the seroprevalence between the HCV, HIV and HBV in this high risk group.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of 1056 current IVDU from the Valencia area who attended the city's AIDS Information Centre between January 1990 and December 1992. Information on sociodemographic, sexual behaviour, and drug use vanables was collected by means of a structured questionnaire. Antibodies to HCV, HIV and HBV were assayed by ELISA test.

Results

The seroprevalence of HCV for the whole period was 85.5% (95% confidence Interval [Cl]: 83.2–87.5%), ranging from 76.5% in 1990 (95% Cl : 71.9–81.1%) to 87.8% in 1992 (95% Cl : 82.5–93.1%). Year of testing and prevalence of HBV markers showed an independent association with HCV seroprevalence. When only IVDU aged <25 years were analysed, sharing of needles also appeared as an independent determinant. Of those IVDU with less than one year of addiction, 69% were HCV seropositive compared with 41% for HBV and 14% for HIV.

Conclusions

Intravenous drug users in Valencia showed one of the highest reported hepatitis C seroprevalences (85.5%). A more efficient parenteral transmission of hepatitis C virus than HBV or HIV is suggested.

Keywords: hepatitis; substance abuse; sexual behaviour; prevalence

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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