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HIV and hepatitis virus infections among injecting drug users in a medically controlled heroin prescription programme


Steffen, T; Blättler, R; Gutzwiller, F; Zwahlen, M (2001). HIV and hepatitis virus infections among injecting drug users in a medically controlled heroin prescription programme. European Journal of Public Health, 11(4):425-430.

Abstract

Background: In Switzerland, 1,035 patients were accepted for admission to the medically controlled prescription of narcotics programme (PROVE) from 1 January 1994 until 31 December 1996. Heroin, methadone, and morphine were prescribed. This paper presents the prevalence and incidence of HIV and hepatitis B/C infections in the sociomedical context of the participants. Methods: Admission criteria were a minimum age of 20 years, at least a two-year duration of daily heroin consumption, a negative outcome of at least two previous treatments, and documented social and health deficits as a consequence of their heroin dependence. The patients were examined at admission and every six months. A serological test was carried out at the same time for HIV and hepatitis B/C. Results: Serological testing on admission could be performed in more than 80% of the entrants and documented a very high seroprevalence of antibodies against HBcore (73%) and HCV (82%). The prevalence of HIV and hepatitis B/C increased with duration of drug intake. In the follow-up analysis of seronegative individuals, a halving of the risk of viral hepatitis infection was shown when comparing the first six months with the period greater then six months after PROVE entry. Conclusion: The tests conducted showed high prevalence and incidence rates of HIV and hepatitis B/C among patients who had consumed intravenous drugs for years. The descriptive analysis in heroin-assisted treatment showed a reduction in infection risk for viral hepatitis corresponding to the lower risk behaviour of patients.

Background: In Switzerland, 1,035 patients were accepted for admission to the medically controlled prescription of narcotics programme (PROVE) from 1 January 1994 until 31 December 1996. Heroin, methadone, and morphine were prescribed. This paper presents the prevalence and incidence of HIV and hepatitis B/C infections in the sociomedical context of the participants. Methods: Admission criteria were a minimum age of 20 years, at least a two-year duration of daily heroin consumption, a negative outcome of at least two previous treatments, and documented social and health deficits as a consequence of their heroin dependence. The patients were examined at admission and every six months. A serological test was carried out at the same time for HIV and hepatitis B/C. Results: Serological testing on admission could be performed in more than 80% of the entrants and documented a very high seroprevalence of antibodies against HBcore (73%) and HCV (82%). The prevalence of HIV and hepatitis B/C increased with duration of drug intake. In the follow-up analysis of seronegative individuals, a halving of the risk of viral hepatitis infection was shown when comparing the first six months with the period greater then six months after PROVE entry. Conclusion: The tests conducted showed high prevalence and incidence rates of HIV and hepatitis B/C among patients who had consumed intravenous drugs for years. The descriptive analysis in heroin-assisted treatment showed a reduction in infection risk for viral hepatitis corresponding to the lower risk behaviour of patients.

Citations

31 citations in Web of Science®
32 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:HIV;Infection;drug;hepatitis;heroin
Language:English, German
Date:2001
Deposited On:04 Jun 2014 08:56
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:47
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1101-1262
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/11.4.425

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