Increased risk for hepatitis C associated with solvent use among Canadian Aboriginal injection drug users
Solvent abuse is a particularly serious issue affecting Aboriginal people. Here we examine the association between solvent use and socio-demographic variables, drug-related risk factors, and pathogen prevalence in Aboriginal injection drug users (IDU) in Manitoba, Canada.
Methods: Data originated from a cross-sectional survey of IDU from December 2003 to September 2004.
Associations between solvent use and variables of interest were assessed by multiple logistic regression.
Results: A total of 266 Aboriginal IDU were included in the analysis of which 44 self-reported recent solvent use. Hepatitis C infection was 81% in solvent-users, compared to 55% in those reporting no solvent use.
In multivariable models, solvent-users were younger and more likely to be infected with hepatitis C (AOR: 3.5; 95%CI: 1.3,14.7), to have shared needles in the last six months (AOR: 2.6; 95%CI:1.0,6.8), and to have injected talwin &Ritalin (AOR: 10.0; 95%CI: 3.8,26.3).Interpretation: High hepatitis C prevalence, even after controlling for risky injection practices, suggests that solvent users may form closed networks of higher risk even amongst an already high-risk IDU population. Understanding the social epidemiological context of inititation and maintenance of solvent use is necessary to address the inherent inequalities encountered by this subpopulation of substance users, and may inform prevention strategies for other marginalized populations.
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