Online Program

Sexual transmission of hepatitis c virus (HCV) among IDUs and their non-injecting sex partners on the US-Mexico border

Monday, November 4, 2013

Oralia Loza, MA, PhD, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso, TX
Leilani Attilio, RN, MPH, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition
Rebeca Ramos, MA, MPH, Alliance of Border Collaboratives (ABC)
Maria Elena Ramos Rodriguez, Programa Compañeros, A.C.
Jorge Duque, MD, Centro Ambulatorio de Prevención y Atención en SIDA e ITS (CAPASITS), Estado de Chihuahua
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among injection drug users (IDUs) has been documented to be over 90% along the U.S.-Mexico border. HCV sexual transmission rate varies by partner type (e.g. monogamous heterosexual couples (2-5%), men who have sex with men (1-7%)) and increases when sex partner is HCV/HIV co-infected. The purpose of this cross-sectional, pilot study is to assess the prevalence of HCV/HIV and known risk behaviors among IDUs and their non-injecting sex partners. Participants are recruited using convenience and snowball sampling, interviewed, and tested for HCV/HIV by outreach workers in Cd. Juárez, Mexico. HCV prevalence was 94.3% for IDUs (n=35) and 11.4% for non-injecting sex partners (N=35). One (2.9%) IDU is HCV/HIV co-infected. All sex partners who tested HCV positive had HCV positive partner. All IDUs reported heroin as the most frequent drug injected. Among those who reported using drugs or alcohol during sex, 69% of IDUs reported heroin and 75% of sex partners reported alcohol as the most frequent substance used. Most (62.5%) IDUs reported never cleaning syringes with bleach and water. Sexual transmission of HCV is plausible. Given the high prevalence of HCV among their non-injecting sex partners, future intervention and harm reduction efforts should include sex partners of IDUs.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus among injection drug users in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico. Describe prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus among non-injecting sex partners of injection drug users in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico. Identify potential risk factors for the sexual transmission of Hepatitis C Virus.

Keyword(s): Hepatitis C, Drug Injectors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Oralia Loza combined her analytical background and research experience and pursued a Ph.D. in Public Health (2009). In 2010, she joined the UTEP College of Health Sciences, Department of Public Health as assistant professor teaching epidemiology, biostatistics, and health research methods. Her research is focused on HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and substance abuse among high-risk and vulnerable populations, including IDUs, transgender women, and migrants. She was Co-PI of this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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