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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2002 Feb 1;65(3):303-8.

Pumping iron, risking infection? Exposure to hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV among anabolic-androgenic steroid injectors in Victoria, Australia.

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The Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research, P.O. Box 254, Fairfield, 3078, Victoria, Australia.



To measure exposure to the hepatitis C and B viruses and HIV among Victorian steroid injectors and evaluate associations between exposure and risk behaviour, and report other characteristics of the study group.


Seroprevalence study using a convenience sample.


Victoria, Australia.


Current injectors of illicit anabolic steroids.


Prevalences of exposure to HIV and the hepatitis B and C viruses; associations of characteristics and behaviours with exposure; descriptive statistics for the sample.


Six of 63 blood samples (9.5%) contained hepatitis C virus antibodies; 12.0% tested positive for hepatitis B core antibody; none contained anti-HIV. Hepatitis C virus exposure was associated with heroin injection, imprisonment, sharing needles to inject other drugs, number of tattoos, and hepatitis B virus exposure. No significant differences existed in the steroid-related risk behaviour of exposed and non-exposed individuals. Hepatitis B virus exposure was associated only with hepatitis C virus exposure, past imprisonment and age of first injection.


Exposure to the hepatitis B and C viruses was detected; hepatitis C virus exposure was at much lower prevalence than normally found among other drug injectors. Factors other than steroid injecting were associated with exposure. Nonetheless, the hepatitis C-exposed reported many steroid-related and other risk behaviours which could spread the virus. Steroid injectors should not be neglected in blood-borne virus prevention efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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