The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
ADS, MTB and XM obtained funding and supervised the study. ADS and MTB were responsible for the study concept, design and study implementation. JRU, ADS, MTB and JAC interpreted data. JRU analysed the data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript that was subsequently improved by the rest of the authors. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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.