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Am J Public Health. 2008 May;98(5):853-61. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.113415. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

A randomized intervention trial to reduce the lending of used injection equipment among injection drug users infected with hepatitis C.

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  • 1Division of International Health and Cross Cultural Medicine, University of California School of Medicine, 9500 Gilman Dr, Mailstop 0622, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.



We evaluated the efficacy of a peer-mentoring behavioral intervention designed to reduce risky distributive injection practices (e.g., syringe lending, unsafe drug preparation) among injection drug users with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.


A randomized trial with a time-equivalent attention-control group was conducted among 418 HCV-positive injection drug users aged 18 to 35 years in 3 US cities. Participants reported their injection-related behaviors at baseline and at 3- and 6-month follow-ups.


Compared with the control group, intervention-group participants were less likely to report distributive risk behaviors at 3 months (odds ratio [OR]=0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.27, 0.79) and 6 months (OR=0.51; 95% CI=0.31, 0.83), a 26% relative risk reduction, but were no more likely to cite their HCV-positive status as a reason for refraining from syringe lending. Effects were strongest among intervention-group participants who had known their HCV-positive status for at least 6 months. Peer mentoring and self-efficacy were significantly increased among intervention-group participants, and intervention effects were mediated through improved self-efficacy.


This behavioral intervention reduced unsafe injection practices that may propagate HCV among injection drug users.

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