Intravenous Drug Use: the Predominant Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Virus Infection


avatar F Fallahian 1 , * , avatar A Najafi 2 , avatar SM Alavian 3

Clinical Fellow, Intensive Care Unit
Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Sina Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Professor, Baqiyatallah Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Disease, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

how to cite: Fallahian F, Najafi A, Alavian S. Intravenous Drug Use: the Predominant Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Virus Infection. Shiraz E-Med J.11(4):20443.


This manuscript provides a literature review of prevalence and routes of hepatitis C virus transmission, and prevention methods regarding its prevalence in different populations. There is a great difference in the frequency of hepatitis C virus infection of general population versus injection drug users. Even in developing countries with unsafe therapeutic injections and contaminated blood, the rate of disease is higher in injecting drug usere. A literature review of published scientific reports on HCV epidemiology, prevalence, and its relation to addiction in some countries was performed. While different epidemiologic patterns of HCV infection exist with seroprevalence of 0.4% to 1.1% and 9.6% to 20% in general population in North America and some countries of North Africa; respectively, the frequency of HCV infection in injection drug users is 48% to 90%. Injection drug use seems the most important worldwide risk factor for hepatitis C virus infection. Substance abuse, HCV infection and mental illness frequently coexist and complicate HCV treatment. Implementing effective measures for preventing injecting drug use by effective drug education programs in school, research in behavioral/environmental addiction predispositions, implement strict drug abuse policy, regular estimation of addiction patterns, and to model prevention approaches according to every certain situation is necessary.

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