BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a significant global health concern. Despite evidence of the relationship between injecting drug use and HCV, studies on HCV among people who inject drugs in developing countries remain scarce. To address this need, we conducted this study to explore the prevalence of and factors associated with HCV antibody positivity among people who inject drugs in Cambodia.
METHODS: Data used for this study were collected as part of the National Integrated Biological and Behavioral Survey among people who use and inject drugs conducted in 2017. We used the respondent-driven sampling method to recruit participants in 12 provinces for face-to-face interviews and HIV and HCV antibody testing. Weighted multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify risk factors associated with HCV antibody positivity.
RESULTS: This study included 286 people who inject drugs with a mean age of 31.6 (SD = 7.5) years. The prevalence of HCV antibody among participants in this study was 30.4%, of whom 31.0% were co-infected with HIV. After adjustment for other covariates, the odds of HCV antibody positivity was significantly higher among participants who were in the older age group of 25 to 34 (AOR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.06-7.92) and ≥ 35 (AOR = 2.67, 95% CI = 1.24-5.71), were in Vietnamese ethnic group (AOR = 5.44, 95% CI = 2.25-13.14), were living on the streets (AOR = 3.01, 95% CI = 1.29-704), had been sent to a drug rehabilitation center in the past 12 months (AOR = 2.67, 95% CI = 1.21-5.90), had received methadone maintenance therapy in the past 12 months (AOR = 3.02, 95% CI = 1.32-6.92), and were tested positive for HIV (AOR = 3.80, 95% CI = 1.58-9.12) compared to their respective reference group.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of HCV antibody among people who inject drugs in Cambodia is high, particularly in older and more vulnerable subgroups. Tailor-made interventions are required to increase access to culturally sensitive harm reduction interventions to prevent primary HCV infection and reinfection. In addition, there is an opportunity to expand screening, diagnosis, and treatment with new directly acting antiviral agents.
Yi, S., Mun, P., Chhoun, P., Chann, N., Tuot, S., & Mburu, G. (2019). Prevalence of and risk factors for hepatitis C virus antibody among people who inject drugs in Cambodia: A national biological and behavioral survey. Harm Reduction Journal, 16(1), [Article 29].
Originally published in Harm Reduction Journal,16(1), [Article 29]. The original material can be found here.