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Am J Public Health. 2009 Apr;99 Suppl 1:S173-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.126383. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Risky sexual behavior, bleeding caused by intimate partner violence, and hepatitis C virus infection in patients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic.

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  • 1Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, CA, USA russell@prev.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to investigate independent contributions of risky sexual behaviors and bleeding caused by intimate partner violence to prediction of HCV infection.

METHODS:

We conducted a case-control study of risk factors among patients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic with and without HCV antibodies, group-matched by age.

RESULTS:

Multivariate analyses indicated that Black race (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3, 4.4), injection drug use (OR = 20.3; 95% CI = 10.8, 37.8), sharing straws to snort drugs (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.01, 3.0), sharing razors (OR = 7.8; 95% CI = 2.0, 31.0), and exposure to bleeding caused by intimate partner violence (OR = 5.5; 95% CI = 1.4, 22.8) contributed significantly to the prediction of HCV infection; risky sexual behavior and exposure to blood or sores during sexual intercourse did not.

CONCLUSIONS:

HCV risk among patients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic can be explained by direct blood exposure, primarily through injection drug use. Exposure to bleeding caused by intimate partner violence may be a previously unrecognized mechanism for HCV transmission associated with risky sexual behavior.

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