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Medical News

Traveling Young Injection Drug Users at High Risk for Acquisition and Transmission of Viral Infections

January 16, 2008

How does the documented high mobility of young injection drug users (IDUs) affect their risk of acquiring and transmitting viral infections? To find out, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of IDUs under age 30 in San Francisco between 2004 and 2006.

The study participants completed a semi-structured interview and underwent testing for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and HIV.

The authors assessed whether travel was independently associated with drug, alcohol, sexual risk behaviors, and infection status after adjusting for demographic characteristics and years of drug injecting.

Travel outside of San Francisco in the previous three months was reported by 62 percent of participants (n=355). When compared to non-travelers, travelers were more likely to be under age 20, female, and planning to leave San Francisco in the coming months.

Travel was independently associated with heavy alcohol use, drinking alcohol until blackout, poly-substance use, more sex partners, more injecting partners, receptive needle sharing, sharing drug preparation equipment, backloading syringes, and pooling money to buy drugs. Younger travelers were more likely than younger non-travelers to be infected with HCV.

"Traveling young [IDUs] are at exceptionally high risk for acquiring and transmitting viral infections," the authors concluded, "while their mobility makes it challenging to effectively deliver interventions."

Back to other news for January 2008

Adapted from:
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
1.11.2008; Vol. 93; No. 1-2: P. 43-50; Judith A. Hahn, Kimberly Page-Shafer, Jamye Ford, Alan Paciorek, Paula J. Lum

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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