Hepatitis C virus infection among injection drug users with and without human immunodeficiency virus co-infection.
The aim of this study is to explore the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among injection drug users (IDUs) with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in southern Taiwan. For 562 IDUs (265 anti-HIV negative, 297 anti-HIV positive), we analyzed liver function, anti-HIV antibody, anti-HCV antibody, HCV viral loads, and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). HIV RNA viral loads and CD4 cell count for anti-HIV-seropositive IDUs and the HCV genotype for HCV RNA-seropositive IDUs were measured. The seroprevalence rates of anti-HIV, anti-HCV, and HBsAg were 52.8%, 91.3%, and 15.3%, respectively. All the anti-HIV-seropositive IDUs were positive for HIV RNA. Anti-HCV seropositivity was the most important factor associated with HIV infection (odds ratio [OR], 25.06; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 8.97-74.9), followed by male gender (OR, 6.12; 95% CI, 4.05-9.39) and HBsAg seropositivity (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.11-3.34). Among IDUs positive for anti-HCV, 80.7% had detectable HCV RNA. HCV viremia after HCV exposure was strongly related to HIV infection (OR, 6.262; 95% CI, 1.515-18.28), but negatively correlated to HBsAg seropositivity (OR, 0.161; 95% CI, 0.082-0.317). HCV genotype 6 was the most prevalent genotype among all IDUs (41.0%), followed by genotypes 1 (32.3%), 3 (12.8%), and 2 (5.6%). In conclusion, about half IDUs were infected with HIV and >90% with HCV infection. Male and seropositivity for HBsAg and anti-HCV were factors related to HIV infection among our IDUs. HIV was positively correlated, whereas hepatitis B co-infection was negatively correlated with HCV viremia among IDUs with HCV exposure. Different HCV molecular epidemiology was noted among IDUs.