JOURNAL ARTICLE

High prevalence of blood-borne virus infections and high-risk behaviour among injecting drug users in Tallinn, Estonia

Anneli Uusküla, Louise Anne McNutt, Jack Dehovitz, Krista Fischer, Robert Heimer
International Journal of STD & AIDS 2007, 18 (1): 41-6
17326862
The HIV epidemic in Estonia is rapidly expanding, and injection drug users (IDUs) are the major risk group contributing to the expansion. A convenience sample of 159 IDUs visiting syringe-exchange programmes (SEPs) was selected to quantify the association of HIV-risk behaviours and blood-borne infections. A high prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B core antibody (HBVcore), hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg) and hepatitis C virus antibodies (56, 85.1, 21.3, and 96.2%, respectively) was associated with high-risk injections, unsafe sexual behaviour and alcohol abuse. These findings emphasize the importance of evidence-based secondary prevention among the HIV-infected, especially given the uncertain sustainability of antiretroviral and substance abuse treatments.

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