Viral hepatitis and HIV infection among injection drug users in a central Iranian City.

Research paper by Masoomeh M Sofian, Arezoo A Aghakhani, Mohammad M Banifazl, Kayhan K Azadmanesh, Ali-Asghar AA Farazi, Willi W McFarland, Ali A Eslamifar, Amitis A Ramezani

Indexed on: 17 Aug '12Published on: 17 Aug '12Published in: Journal of addiction medicine


This study aimed to determine the prevalence of serological markers for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and occult HBV infection among injection drug users (IDUs) with isolated anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc).A total of 153 male IDUs were tested for anti-hepatitis B surface (anti-HBs), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), anti-HBc, anti-HCV, and anti-HIV. The presence of HBV-DNA was determined in plasma samples of individuals with isolated anti-HBc (HBsAg negative, anti-HBs negative, and anti-HBc positive) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).The prevalence of markers for viral hepatitis and HIV infections was 59.5% for anti-HCV, 44.4% for anti-HBs, 22.9% for anti-HBc, 7.2% for HBsAg, and 5.9% for anti-HIV. Several markers for coinfection, including HBV-HCV (5.9%), HCV-HIV (5.2%), HBV-HIV (2.0%), and HBV-HCV-HIV (1.3%), were present. Of the 7.2% of IDUs with isolated anti-HBc, all were anti-HCV positive and 18.2% were anti-HIV positive; however, no cases had detectable HBV-DNA as a marker of occult infection.Markers for HCV, HBV, HIV, and combinations of these infections were common among IDUs in a city of central Iran. Isolated anti-HBc was associated with HCV but not with occult HBV infection in this sample. The 10-fold higher prevalence of HCV than HIV infection may be a harbinger of increasing HIV among IDUs in this area.