Prevalence And Characteristics Of HCV Infection In People Who Use Drugs Managed At Low-Threshold Settings In Slovenia: Results From A National Study

Author: Maticic M, Cernosa J, Bajec B, Zelnikar B, Zamernik E, Korenjak M, Poljak M, Lazarus JV

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2018

Background: There are an estimated 6-8,000 people who use drugs (PWUD) in Slovenia (population 2 million). Of these, 86% are managed in the national network of high-threshold drug treatment programmes, and have reported HCV seroprevalence of 30%. However, in the low-threshold programmes, which focus solely on harm reduction, HCV seroprevalence in PWUD has not been determined. Aim of this study was to assess at the national level HCV seroprevalence among PWUD attending low-threshold services and define their characteristics. Methods: In prospective study in November and December 2017, PWUD from seven regional centres with low-threshold programmes including needle and syringe programmes and homeless shelters were blood-screened for HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) using the Ortho HCV Version 3.0 ELISA Test system. All participants were asked to complete a 10-item questionnaire on their demographic and epidemiological data. Results were stratified by anti-HCV status and tested for statistical significance (p

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