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Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2006 Jul;54 Spec No 1:1S15-1S22.

[Incidence and risk factors of HCV infection in a cohort of intravenous drug users in the North and East of France].

[Article in French]

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Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice.

Erratum in

  • Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2006 Sep;54(4):384.



In order to evaluate the incidence and risk factors of infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV) among intravenous drug users we conducted a prospective cohort study of HCV and HIV negative IVDU in the North and East of France.


Two hundred and thirty-one IVDU who had injected drug at least once in their lifetime and were negative for anti-HCV and anti-HIV were followed-up every three months over a 12-month period. Serum anti-HCV and anti-HIV antibodies were tested at inclusion in the study and at the end of the follow-up. Data on injection practices and behaviours were collected at inclusion and at each visit, and a test for anti-HCV antibodies was performed on a saliva sample. When this proved positive, an ELISA test for serum anti-HCV antibodies was carried out.


Of the 231 participants included, 165 (71.4%) underwent a final HCV and HIV serum test. The incidence was nil for HIV infection and 9% (95% CI: 4.6-13.4) person-years for HCV infection. Among IVDU who injected at least once during the last 6 months HCV infection incidence was 11% (95% CI: 4.7-17.1) person-years. The multivariate analysis carried out on the inclusion data found female sex alone to be an independent predictive factor of HCV seroconversion. In a Cox proportional hazard multivariate analysis that took into account time-dependent exposures and covariates, we found that syringe and cotton sharing were, after adjusting for other covariates, the only independent predictive factors of HCV seroconversion: hazard ratio: 6.3 [corrected] (95% CI: 1.1-35.4; [corrected] p<0.05) and 16.4 (95% CI: 1.4-190.6; [corrected] p<0.05), respectively.


The transmission of the HCV virus persists among French IVDU despite an ongoing national harm reduction program. Injecting material and cotton sharing are the two major determinants of transmission in this cohort.

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