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Review Quantifies Incidence of HIV, Hep C in Persons Who Inject Drugs

Pooled incidence 1.7 and 12.1 per 100 person-years for HIV, hepatitis C, respectively, with higher risk seen in the young and in women

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Among people who inject drugs (PWID), the pooled incidences of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are 1.7 and 12.1 per 100 person-years, respectively, with increased risks in young PWID and in women, according to a review published online March 27 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Adelina Artenie, Ph.D., from Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize global data on HIV and primary HCV incidence among PWID and associations with age and gender. A total of 125 records met the inclusion criteria; 64 estimates of HIV incidence and 66 estimates of HCV incidence were identified.

The researchers found that pooled HIV incidence was 1.7 per 100 person-years and pooled HCV incidence was 12.1 per 100 person-years. Compared with older PWID, young PWID had a greater risk for HIV and HCV acquisition (relative risk, 1.5 for both). Compared with men, women had a greater risk for HIV and HCV (relative risks, 1.4 and 1.2, respectively). The median risk for bias score was 6, indicating moderate risk for both HIV and HCV.

“Given the higher risks of HIV and HCV acquisition in young versus older PWID and in women versus men who inject drugs, age-appropriate and gender-appropriate prevention and harm reduction measures are also urgently needed to serve these subgroups at high risk,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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