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J Infect Dis. 2000 Dec;182(6):1588-94. Epub 2000 Nov 2.

Hepatitis C virus infection: prevalence, risk factors, and prevention opportunities among young injection drug users in Chicago, 1997-1999.

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  • 1Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


The prevalence, risk factors, and prevention opportunities of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were studied in a large sample of 698 young adult injection drug users (IDUs) in Chicago, 18-30 years old. Participants were recruited between 1997 and 1999 by using street outreach, targeted advertising, and chain-referral methods. HCV infection prevalence was 27% and was strongly associated with both age and duration of injecting (P<.001). In multivariable analysis, sexual behaviors were unrelated to seropositivity. Independent drug-related risk factors included frequent injection, heavy crack smoking, injecting in a shooting gallery, and syringe-mediated sharing. Urban residents were more likely than suburban residents to be infected. Most research on hepatitis C has shown rapid spread of infection among IDUs, but these findings underscore that opportunities to identify IDUs uninfected with HCV may be greater than assumed and emphasize the need to target younger, newer IDUs.

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