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Int J STD AIDS. 2007 Jan;18(1):23-7.

High hepatitis C virus prevalence and incidence among Canadian intravenous drug users.

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Direction de santé publique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


We used data and leftover samples collected through the SurvUDI network to describe the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among injection drug users (IDUs) in Eastern Central Canada. Among the 1380 selected IDUs, having participated twice or more between 1997 and 2003, the overall HCV prevalence rate was 60.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 57.7-63.0%). Among the 543 initially uninfected participants, the HCV incidence rate was 27.1 per 100 person-years (95% CI: 23.4-30.9 per 100 person-years). Independent predictors of seroconversion, identified among 359 participants, were age, injecting for a year or less, injecting with a syringe previously used by someone else, injecting most often cocaine, engaging in prostitution, and being recruited in a major urban centre. The HCV epidemic severely affects IDUs in this area. Actions to prevent HCV transmission, such as distribution of sterile injection equipment, have to be reinforced. Special efforts have to be targeted towards starting IDUs.

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