The study’s aim was to estimate the self-reported prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and to describe their associated risk factors in a population of users of illicit drugs recruited in Catalonia- Spain, during 2012.
Cross-sectional study. People with illicit drugs use were selected in three different types of healthcare centres. The questionnaire was a piloted, structured ad hoc instrument. An analysis was made to identify factors associated to self-reported HCV, HIV and co-infection. Correlates of reported infections were determined using univariate and multivariate Poisson regression (with robust variance).
Among 512 participants, 39.65 % self-reported positive serostatus for HCV and 14.84 % for HIV, co-infection was reported by 13.48 %. Among the 224 injecting drug users (IDUs), 187 (83.48 %), 68 (30.36 %) and 66 (29.46 %) reported being positive for HCV, HIV and co-infection, respectively. A higher proportion of HIV-infected cases was observed among women, (18.33 % vs. 13.78 % in men). Prevalence of HCV, HIV and co-infection were higher among participants with early onset of drug consumption, long periods of drug injection or who were unemployed. A positive serostatus was self-reported by 21(7.34 %) participants who did not report any injection; among them 16 and eight, reported being positive for HCV and HIV, respectively; three reported co-infection. Only two people declared exchanging sex for money. For those that reported a negative test, the median time since the last HIV test was 11.41 months (inter-quartile range (IQR) 4–12) and for the HCV test was 4.5 months (IQR 2–7).
Among drug users in Catalonia, HIV, HCV and co-infection prevalence are still a big issue especially among IDUs. Women and drug users who have never injected drugs are groups with a significant risk of infection; this might be related to their high-risk behaviours and to being unaware of their serological status.