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Randomized controlled trial of a brief behavioural intervention for reducing hepatitis C virus risk practices among injecting drug users

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To develop and evaluate a brief intervention for reducing risk behaviours associated with HCV transmission in injecting drug users (IDU). Design 

Randomized controlled trial of an individually tailored brief behavioural intervention (BBI) (experimental) versus a standardized educational intervention (control). Setting 

Specialist drug treatment facility in Melbourne, Australia. Participants 

One hundred and forty-five IDU (aged 18 or over, injecting at least weekly in the preceding 6 months) recruited and randomized to the experimental condition (n = 73) or the control condition (n = 72). Interventions 

The BBI was based on the Blood-Borne Virus Transmission Risk Assessment Questionnaire (BBV-TRAQ)—a standardized blood-borne virus risk assessment instrument comprising injecting risk, sexual risk and other skin penetration risk subscales. The BBV-TRAQ was used to identify individual HCV risk practices and to tailor the 30-minute experimental BBI. Control participants received a standardized HCV educational session, using current educational materials. Main outcome measures 

BBV-TRAQ subscale and total scores and measures of participant satisfaction. Results 

One hundred and twenty-four participants (86%) were followed-up at 4 weeks (±7 days). Analyses revealed a significant reduction in HCV risk behaviours for both groups at 1-month follow-up, with participants in the experimental BBI condition reporting higher overall satisfaction with the intervention compared to the control group. Conclusions 

Both groups reported significant reductions in risk behaviour, indicating that while BBI methods hold promise for HCV education and prevention, they were not demonstrated to be more effective than the provision of standard educational materials. Future research could evaluate the efficacy of the BBV-TRAQ as a risk behaviour intervention and counselling tool in clinical, NSP and peer education settings.
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Keywords: Brief behavioural intervention; hepatitis C virus; injecting drug use; randomized controlled trial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Melbourne 2: St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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