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Int J Sports Med. 1999 Nov;20(8):563-6.

The infectious complications of anabolic-androgenic steroid injection.

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The Miriam Hospital and Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02906, USA.


One million individuals in the United States alone are estimated to be current or past users of anabolic-androgenic steroids. In the United States fifty-percent of anabolic-androgenic steroid users administer their compounds intramuscularly, and twenty-five percent of adolescent anabolic-androgenic steroid users share needles, placing these young adults at risk for infections related to injection. To examine the medical literature for reports of infections attributable to anabolic-androgenic steroids, we conducted a MEDLINE (1966-1998) and AIDSLINE (1980-1998) world literature review to examine all references that attributed infections to anabolic-androgenic steroid injection. Infections associated with anabolic-androgenic steroid injection include three cases of HIV, one case of hepatitis B, one case of hepatitis C, eight abscesses, and a case of fungal endophthalmitis. No cross-sectional or prospective studies exist that document the risk of infections related to anabolic-androgenic steroid injection. These serious infectious complications of anabolic-androgenic steroid injection may be avoided with education and prevention techniques. Infections occurring in anabolic-androgenic steroid users are not as common as in intravenous drug users.

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