Coinfections by HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in imprisoned injecting drug users

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In order to know the prevalence and risk factors for coinfections by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among injecting drug users (IDUs), a cross-sectional study was carried out in two prisons of the province of Cantabria, northern Spain. Three hundred and sixty-two IDU inmates were recruited. All inmates were interviewed and their blood tested for HIV, HBV and HCV. Crude and multiple risk factor adjusted for (by polychotomous logistic regression) odds ratios were calculated. Prevalence of HBV-HCV coinfection (42.5%) was higher than HIV-HBV-HCV coinfection (37.3%), whereas monoinfections were very uncommon (overall: 13%). Long-term injectors and reincarceration were the foremost risk factors for both coinfections, showing a trend between the degree of association and the number of viruses infecting a patient. No significant relationship between coinfection status and sexual practices was observed. The results related to coinfections are consistent with previous studies of prevalence and risk factors for HIV, HBV and HCV, in indicating that the high rates of coinfections among IDU inmates emphasise the need to harm-reduction policy across prisons in Spain.

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