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Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):2226-32. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302142. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Risk factors for HCV infection among young adults in rural New York who inject prescription opioid analgesics.

Author information

Jon E. Zibbell is with the Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Rachel Hart-Malloy and Colleen Flanigan are with the AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health, Albany. Rachel Hart-Malloy is also with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany, State University of New York. John Barry and Lillian Fan are with the Southern Tier AIDS Program, Broome County, NY.



We investigated a cluster of new hepatitis C cases in rural New York among a cohort of young people who inject drugs (PWID) and misuse prescription opioid analgesics (POA).


We recruited a purposive sample of PWID from Cortland County for an in-person survey and HCV rapid antibody test (March-July 2012). We examined sociodemographics, drugs currently injected, and lifetime and recent injection behaviors to ascertain associations with HCV antibody (anti-HCV) positivity.


Of 123 PWID, 76 (61.8%) were younger than 30 years, and 100 (81.3%) received HCV rapid testing. Of those tested, 34 (34.0%) were positive. Participants who reported injecting POA in the past 12 months were 5 times more likely to be anti-HCV positive than those who injected drugs other than POA, and participants who reported sharing injection equipment in the past 12 months were roughly 4 times more likely to be anti-HCV positive than those who did not.


Our analysis suggests people injecting POA may be at higher risk for HCV infection than people who inject heroin or other drugs but not POA.

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