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Winslow M, Subramaniam M, Ng WL, Lee A, Song G, Chan YH
Correspondence: Dr Mythily Subramaniam, email@example.com
Introduction All over the world, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) accounts for an estimated 130 million chronic infections. Injection drug use has become one of the most important risk factors for HCV, and within the injection drug user population, the prevalence of HCV antibody ranges from 70 to 95 percent depending on an individual's length of use and the prevalence of infection in the community. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of and the risk factors for Hepatitis C antibodies in injecting drug users presenting to the Community Addictions Management Programme (CAMP) in Singapore.
Methods Eligibility criteria for inclusion in this study were all intravenous buprenorphine users presenting to CAMP. 106 subjects, who consented to the study, completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire, and underwent a urine and blood analysis.
Results The prevalence rate for HCV was 42.5 percent among the subjects included in our study. The odds of seroprevalence in those sharing needles were 5.6 times that of those who were not, and the odds of seroprevalence among those using with others (peers or partners) were 6.3 times, as compared to among those who were individual users. Racial differences were also seen, but these could be accounted for by the sharing of needles.
Conclusion This study provides important local data at the onset of an early buprenorphine-injecting epidemic in Singapore. This data is useful for disease prevention and healthcare planning.
Keywords: drug abuse, hepatitis C virus, intravenous buprenorphine users, intravenous drug use, needle sharing
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(6): 504–508