Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Medical News
Full Participation in Harm Reduction Programs Is Associated With Decreased Risk for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C Virus: Evidence From the Amsterdam Cohort Studies Among Drug Users

January 30, 2008

In this study, researchers explored the link between participation in harm reduction programs and HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence among ever-injecting drug users enrolled in the Amsterdam Cohort Studies. Poisson regression was used to evaluate the association.

Researchers assessed methadone use and needle exchange program (NEP) use for 714 drug users at risk of HIV and hepatitis C infection. The study used five categories measuring participation, spanning from no involvement (injecting drug use and no methadone use in the past six months, no NEP use) to full participation (60 mg or more of methadone/day and no current injection drug use, or 60 mg or more of methadone/day and current injecting but all injecting needles through NEP).

Alone, neither methadone nor NEP use was significantly associated with HIV/HCV seroconversion. In combination, however, full participation in these programs was associated with lowered risk of infection in ever-injecting drug users compared to those who did not participate, a relation holding after correcting for potentially confounding variables (incidence rate ratio 0.43 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.21-0.87) and 0.36 (95 percent CI, 0.13-1.03)).

The authors concluded that full participation in a harm reduction program is associated with a lower incidence of HCV and HIV infection in ever-injecting drug users. Combined measures, rather than methadone or NEP alone, "might contribute to the reduction of the spread of these infections."

Back to other news for January 2008

Excerpted from:
1.30.2008; Vol. 102; No. 9: P. 1454-1462; Charlotte Van Den Berg, Colette Smit, Giel Van Brussel, Roel Coutinho, Maria Prins

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. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.