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Med J Aust. 1992 Aug 17;157(4):227-30.

Risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection in blood donors: a case-control study.

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National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney.



To investigate risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Sydney blood donors.


Blood donors confirmed to be positive for HCV antibodies were compared with blood donors with a positive result of a screening assay, but whose HCV antibody status had not been confirmed. A questionnaire on sexual, parenteral and other potential risk factors was administered to both groups.


Blood Transfusion Service in Sydney.


The study enrolled 220 donors who had confirmed HCV infection, and 210 donors who did not.


The relative risk associated with injecting drug use was 63 (95% confidence interval, 19-260) when comparison was made with all other donors. Among donors who did not report injecting drug use, a significant, independent increase in risk was found in association with having had a tattoo. Among donors who did not give a history of parenteral exposure, there was a significantly greater risk in people with more than one life-time sexual partner than in those with at most one partner.


A history of injecting drug use was elicited as the most important risk factor in Sydney blood donors with antibodies to hepatitis C. Having had a tattoo, and an increased number of lifetime sexual partners were also independently associated with HCV infection.

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