HIV/HCV Associated Risk Behaviour among Persons Who Inject Drugs by Their Infection Status

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Due to similar transmission routes of HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection among persons who inject drugs (PWID) is high, 70%-83% in Europe. PWID with co-infection is considered a population with high-risk injecting practices. Understanding of risk behaviours may help to address better address PWID needs for harm reduction and disease prevention. The aim is to describe risk behaviour and its contexts among PWIDs with different HIV/HCV status.

Materials and Methods
Qualitative semi-structured interviews and focus groups conducted with PWID in January 2022. Participants sampled purposively according to HIV/HCV status: HIV/HCV co-infection (n=7); HCV mono-infection (n=5); HIV/HCV negative (n=5). 2 focus groups, 1 interview and 6 telephone interviews were conducted. Descriptive coding was conducted according to the interview protocol. Research carried out within the 12th phase of the Drug User Cohort Study, by the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia and NGO ‘DIA + LogS’.

PWID risk with HIV and/or HCV infection were practicing unsafe injections on daily basis, while mono-infected practiced it in rare cases. Almost all infected persons admit to sharing syringes/needles repeatedly in a lifetime. Most PWID used household items instead of sterile injecting equipment. PWID with co-infection were using injecting equipment of unknown origin. PWID with HIV/HCV co-infection reported problems with obtaining sterile injection equipment in advance. Part of HIV/HCV infected persons were incarcerated during their lifetime, but only HIV/HCV co-infected reported drug use in prisons.

PWID with HIV/HCV co-infection and mono-infection practised unsafe injections and other high-risk behaviour. Infected PWID reported drug-injection-related problems they are facing while trying to maintain sterile injection practices.
Period29 Mar 2023
Event titleRSU Research week 2023: Society. Health. Welfare
Event typeConference
Conference number9
OrganiserRīga Stradiņš University
LocationRiga, LatviaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational