Does informing people who inject drugs of their hepatitis C status influence their injecting behavior? Analysis of the Networks II study
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Background: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is plausible that PWID who receive a diagnosis of HCV will reduce their injecting risk out of concern for their injecting partners, although evidence for this is currently limited. The aim of this study was to investigate whether informing PWID of their HCV diagnosis was associated with a change in injecting behaviour. Methods: Prospective, longitudinal study of PWID recruited from street drug markets across Melbourne, Australia. Interviews and HCV testing were conducted at 3-monthly intervals. The association between receiving a diagnosis of HCV and (i) injecting frequency and (ii) injecting equipment borrowing, was examined using generalized estimating equations (GEE) analysis. Results: Thirty-five individuals received a diagnosis of HCV during the study period. Receiving a diagnosis of HCV was associated with a decrease of 0.35 injections per month (p = 0.046) but there was no change in injecting equipment borrowing (p = 0.750).Conclusions: A small reduction in injecting frequency was observed in PWID who received a diagnosis of HCV. This finding should be investigated further in larger studies examining a wider range of injecting risk behaviours.
NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Drug Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol. 25, Issue 1, (2014). http://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.08.005
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