Descriptive epidemiology of hepatitis C virus among male heroin abusers in Taiwan

Kuan Fu Liao, Chen Yuang Peng, Shih Wei Lai, Wu Long Chang, Nan Yung Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and to determine the risk factors for HCV infection among heroin abusers in Taiwan. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. From November 2004 to February 2005, 577 subjects, including 423 subjects (73.3%) using injectable heroin and 154 subjects (26.7%) using smoked heroin from one male prison located in Taiwan, were enrolled in this study. The mean age was 33.3 ± 7.9 years (age range 19-65 years). Anti-HCV antibody was tested. A face-to-face interview focusing on sociodemographic information and risk behaviors was addressed. The t test, χ2 test, and multivariate logistic regression were used. Results: The overall prevalence of anti-HCV antibody positivity was 74.9%, with 89.8% among injecting heroin abusers and 33.8% among smoking heroin abusers (P <0.0001). The multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that needle sharing was independently related to HCV infection (odds ratio = 5.25, 95% confidence interval = 2.48-11.12). Conclusions: The prevalence of anti-HCV antibody positivity among male injecting drug abusers is high in Taiwan. Needle sharing is identified as a potential risk factor for HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-351
Number of pages4
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C
  • Heroin abuser
  • Needle sharing
  • Prevalence
  • Tattoo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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