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Viral hepatitis among male amphetamine-inhaling abusers

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Abstract Background:

Few studies have focused on the clandestinely consumed amphetamine as a primary drug. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the related factors in male amphetamine-inhaling abusers. Methods:

This was a cross-sectional study. From November 2004 to February 2005, 285 amphetamine-inhaling male subjects at one prison in Taiwan and 285 age-matched healthy men without history of using illicit drugs or tattooing were enrolled. A face-to-face interview focusing on amphetamine-addicted history and sociodemographic information was used. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV were tested. Results:

The mean age of the subjects was 34.1 ± 8.6 years (range 17–75 years). Among 285 subjects, 13.3% were positive for HBsAg, 20.0% positive for anti-HCV and 2.5% positive for combined HBsAg and anti-HCV. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that tattoo (odds ratio (OR) 2.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37–6.43) and elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.49–6.66) were independently related to persons being anti-HCV positive. Elevated ALT was related to persons being HBsAg positive (OR 2.60, 95% CI 1.15–5.89). Conclusion:

Screening of HBV and HCV infection among amphetamine-inhaling abusers remains necessary. Tattoo and elevated ALT are identified as the related factors for being anti-HCV positive. Elevated ALT is the related factor for being HBsAg positive.
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Keywords: amphetamine; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; prison; tattoo

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Family Medicine 2: Department of Health, Taichung Prison, Taichung, Taiwan 3: Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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