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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 146-150

A clinical study on risk behaviors and seroprevalence of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C among injection drug users on opioid substitution therapy: An observational study

Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Aaliya Khanam
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Srinagar - 190 003, Jammu and Kashmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_70_19

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Introduction: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and HIV infection among IDUs is an emerging trend. Opioid substitution therapy (OST) is an evidence-based treatment for opiate-dependent clients that replaces illicit drug use with medically prescribed, orally administered opiates such as buprenorphine. The objective of this study was to determine the sociodemographic variables; seroprevalence of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C; associated risk behaviors; comorbid substance use pattern; and psychiatric comorbidity among injection drug users (IDUs). Methods: A total of 57 IDUs aged between 18 and 60 years who attended the OST center during 4 months period of a government medical college in North India were included in the study. Results: All of the IDUs were males with a mean age of 26.55 ± 7.26 years. The mean dose of buprenorphine used for the substitution was 6.24 ± 2.4/day at the start of the therapy. Most of the patients were unemployed, with a maximum of them studied up to high school level. The most common substance abuse among IDU users was tobacco 47 (82.46%), followed by Cannabis 23 (40.35%). High-risk behavior found among OST clients was sharing needles (29.82%), unprotected sexual intercourse (12.28%), and sexual intercourse with multiple partners (3.51%). HCV testing showed positive among 9 (15.78%) clients. Conclusion: Oral substitution with buprenorphine is an effective harm reduction strategy for preventing HCV, HBV, and HIV among IDUs. Buprenorphine is a safe compound, with minimal side effects and minimal chances of overdoses.

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