Author(s): Chelleng PK, Borkakoty BJ, Chetia M, Das HK, Mahanta J
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Abstract BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Prevalence of injection drug users (IDUs) is high in the northeastern region of India. This coupled with unsafe injecting practices as well as practice of tattooing in remote tribal areas call for baseline data on the prevalence of parentally transmitted viral diseases. In the present study we aimed to measure the risk behaviours and seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies amongst IDUs of Mizoram, a State of the northeast India. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2004-2005 amongst IDUs (including female sex workers) who had injected in the past six months and were unaware of their HCV/HIV status. They were recruited from various drop-in centers from Aizawl, Mizoram, and screened for anti-HCV antibodies using 3(rd) generation HCV EIA and recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). RESULTS: The prevalence of HCV antibodies was 71.2 per cent among the active IDUs. On univariate analysis increasing duration of injection, syringe sharing and heroin (diacetylmorphine) injectors were at a significantly higher risk of acquiring HCV antibodies (P<0.001). On multivariate analysis, HCV antibody prevalence showed a strong association with the type of drugs injected (P=0.001), frequency of injecting (P=0.013), multiplicity of drugs abused (P=0.004), and needle syringe sharing (P=0.003). INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Unsafe injecting practices were found to be associated with a higher risk of acquiring hepatitis C infection. Our findings showed that syringe and needle exchange programme alone was not sufficient as a preventive strategy for control of hepatitis C infection among IDUs of Aizawl.
This article was published in Indian J Med Res
and referenced in Journal of Liver