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J Infect Dis. 1991 Jul;164(1):36-42.

Human T cell lymphotropic virus types I and II in intravenous drug users in San Francisco: risk factors associated with seropositivity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, San Diego 92103.


Serologic assays for human T cell lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV I/II) infection were done in 676 intravenous drug users (IVDUs) in San Francisco between 1985 and 1987: 150 in 1985, 44 in 1986, and 482 in 1987. All sera were tested by Western blot, ELISA, and p24 RIA. A total of 111 participants were seropositive in a minimum of two assays. Duration of intravenous heroin use was strongly associated with the risk of HTLV I/II seropositivity: greater than or equal to 21 years odds ratio, 6.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2-17.5), compared with less than 10 years of heroin use. Additional independent risk factors included black or Hispanic race, female sex, and the use of drugs in a shooting gallery. Coinfection of HTLV I/II and human immunodeficiency virus was less frequent than expected by chance (P less than .02). Longitudinal specimens were available in 154 participants. The age- and race-adjusted seroconversion rate was 3.4% (95% CI, 1.3-8.9) per person per year. Of the 349 homosexual men tested, none were HTLV I/II-seropositive.

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