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1.  Different HCV Genotype Distributions of HIV-Infected Individuals in Henan and Guangxi, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50343.
Background
Due to shared transmission routes, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is highly prevalent among people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is associated with hepatotoxicity, leading to the negative effects on patients with HIV/HCV co-infection. In order to provide valuable information for HCV management in this particular population, we investigated the HCV genotypes in HIV-infected individuals from Henan and Guangxi, the two provinces with the most HIV-infected cases in China.
Methods
Individuals, who acquired HIV infection through various risk routes, were recruited from Henan and Guangxi. Test of antibodies against HCV (anti-HCV) was conducted, and detection of HCV RNA was performed by PCR amplification. HCV subtypes were determined by direct sequencing of amplicons, followed by phylogenetic analysis.
Results
We recruited a total of 1,112 HIV-infected people in this present study. Anti-HCV was detected from 218 (50.1%) patients from Henan and 81 (12.0%) patients from Guangxi, respectively. The highest prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was observed from FBDs (former blood donors) (87.2%) in Henan and IDUs (intravenous drug users) (81.8%) in Guangxi, respectively. The seroprevalence rate of HCV among people with sexual contact was significantly higher in Henan than in Guangxi (18.7% vs. 3.5%, P<0.05). The positive rate of HCV RNA in Henan and Guangxi was 30.6% (133/435) and 11.2% (76/677), respectively. Moreover, we found that 20 anti-HCV negative samples were HCV positive by PCR amplification. HCV subtype 1b (52.7%) was predominant in Henan, followed by subtype 2a (41.9%). The most frequently detected subtypes in Guangxi were 6a (35.6%) and 3b (32.9%).
Conclusion
The HCV genotype distributions were different in HIV-infected people from Henan and Guangxi. HIV/HCV co-infection was not only linked to the transmission routes, but also associated with the geographic position.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050343
PMCID: PMC3511438  PMID: 23226265
2.  High Prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV and Co-Infection and Associated Risk Factors among Injecting Drug Users in Yunnan Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42937.
Objective
To estimate the prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV and co-infection with 2 or 3 viruses and evaluate risk factors among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Yunnan province, China.
Methods
2080 IDUs were recruited from 5 regions of Yunnan Province, China to detect the infection status of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate risk factors related to HIV, HCV and HBV infections.
Results
The infection rates among all participants were 25.5% for HIV, 77.7% for HCV, 19.2% for HBV, 15% for HIV/HCV, 0.3% for HIV/HBV, 7.8% for HCV/HBV and 7.1% for HIV/HCV/HBV. The prevalence of virus infection varied widely by region in Yunnan of China. Statistical analyses indicated that high prevalence of HIV and HCV among IDUs was positively associated with the duration of drug injection and sharing needles/syringes; besides, HCV infection was associated with the frequency of drug injection.
Conclusions
HIV, HCV, HBV infections and co-infections were still very prevalent among IDUs in Yunnan province because of drug use behaviors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042937
PMCID: PMC3420897  PMID: 22916185
3.  Co-infection with HIV and hepatitis C virus in former plasma/blood donors: challenge for patient care in rural China 
AIDS (London, England)  2006;20(10):1429-1435.
Background
Illegal commercial plasma donation in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused blood-borne infections in China.
Objectives
To estimate the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and to identify associated risk factors in central China with a history of illegal plasma collection activities.
Design and methods
A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2004, in which all adult residents in four villages in rural Shanxi Province were invited for a questionnaire interview and testing of HIV and HCV antibodies.
Results
Of 3062 participating villagers, 29.5% reported a history of selling whole blood or plasma. HIV seropositivity was confirmed in 1.3% of subjects and 12.7% were HCV positive. Their co-infection rates were 1.1% among all study subjects, 85% among HIV-positive subjects, and 8.7% among HCV-positive subjects. Selling plasma [odds ratio (OR), 22.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 16.1–31.7; P < 0.001] or blood (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.3–4.2; P < 0.001) were independently associated with HIV and/or HCV infections. Although a spouse's history of selling plasma/blood was not associated with either infection, the HIV or HCV seropositivity of a spouse was significantly associated with HIV and/or HCV infections (both OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.0–5.2 in men, 2.0–4.9 in women; P < 0.001). For men, residence in the village with a prior illegal plasma collection center (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.7–3.7; P < 0.001) and for women, older age (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2–14.0; P = 0.04) were associated with HIV and/or HCV infections.
Conclusions
HIV and HCV infections are now prevalent in these Chinese communities. HIV projects should consider screening and care for HCV co-infection.
doi:10.1097/01.aids.0000233577.33973.fa
PMCID: PMC2749723  PMID: 16791018
HIV; hepatitis C virus; cross-sectional study; plasma donors; rural health; China
4.  Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Risk Factor Analysis in the Hebei Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75586.
Background
In 1985, a hepatitis C virus (HCV) outbreak caused by plasmapheresis donation was reported in the Hebei Province, China. However, studies assessing the epidemic features and risk factors of HCV in the general population of Hebei have been limited until now.
Methods
The multicenter cluster sampling method was used to collect samples. The participants were interviewed. Relevant information was obtained from the general population using a standardized questionnaire, and association and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Serum samples were taken to test anti-HCV by enzyme immunoassays.
Results
A total of 4562 participants from 11 cities of the Hebei Province were enrolled. The average anti-HCV positive rate was 0.62% (29/4562), which was 1.07% in the rural population, compared with 0.22% in the urban population. The anti-HCV positive rate in the 40–59-year age group was higher than in those aged <40 years. History of blood transfusion and transmission in families were the main risk factors for HCV infection in this area.
Conclusion
The anti-HCV positive rate in Hebei has decreased significantly from that two decades ago. Safety of blood products and health education about HCV still need to be improved.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075586
PMCID: PMC3777954  PMID: 24069430
5.  Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C infection in rural north Vietnam 
Hepatology International  2007;1(3):387-393.
Background
In Vietnam, the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among injecting drug users and patients with liver disease is known to be high, yet the magnitude of HCV in the general population, particularly in rural areas, has not been clearly estimated. A community-based study was used to determine the prevalence of HCV infection in a rural population of north Vietnam and explore risk factors associated with HCV acquisition.
Method
A community-based viral hepatitis seroprevalence study using a multistage sampling method to recruit participants was undertaken. The study population size (n = 837) had been determined on the basis of estimated hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence. Information on demography and potential risk factors were obtained using face-to-face interviews, and all selected participants were tested for anti-HCV antibody.
Results
HCV prevalence in the study population was 1.0% (95% CI: 0.4%–1.9%). Hospital admission (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 7.19; 95% CI: 1.59–32.53; P = .01) and having tattoos (AOR: 13.37: 95% CI: 1.86–96.15; P = .01) were independent predictors of HCV infection, and farmers were less likely to have HCV infection than those in other occupations (AOR: 0.19; 95% CI: 0.04–0.84; P = .02).
Conclusion
The prevalence of HCV infection is low in the general rural population in northern Vietnam. An association between HCV infection and hospital admission and tattoos indicate a need to improve the standards of infection control in healthcare and other settings in this region.
doi:10.1007/s12072-007-9008-3
PMCID: PMC2716832  PMID: 19669334
Prevalence; Risk factors; Hepatitis C infection; Rural population; Vietnam
6.  Long-term Survival After Esophagectomy for Early Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Linxian, China 
Journal of surgical oncology  2011;104(2):176-180.
Background and Objectives
Linxian in Henan Province, China, has among the highest rates of esophageal cancer worldwide. Little is known about long-term survival after esophagectomy for early neoplastic lesions found during early detection screening. A long-term survival analysis was performed for 315 patients from Linxian who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Methods
Cases that received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were age- and gender-matched with two healthy controls, and Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed for both groups.
Results
10-year survival was 77% for cases and 64% for controls, and this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.33). There were no significant differences in survival based on age or gender (p>0.05). Cases with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma-in-situ had significantly better survival than cases with invasive esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (p=0.035).
Conclusions
Survival of cases who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma was not significantly different from survival of age- and gender-matched controls. Early intervention probably improved survival rates for these patients who otherwise would most likely have developed advanced esophageal carcinoma. Early screening and intervention are highly relevant in areas with a high risk of esophageal cancer such as Linxian, China.
doi:10.1002/jso.21953
PMCID: PMC3129477  PMID: 21538356
Esophageal Cancer; Esophageal Surgery; Statistics; survival analysis
7.  Characteristics of HCV Co-Infection among HIV Infected Individuals from an Area with High Risk of Blood-Borne Infections in Central China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94219.
Objective
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection has been proved to be a growing public health concern. The prevalence and genotypic pattern vary with geographic locations. Limited information is available to date with regard to HCV genotype and its clinical implications among those former commercial blood donor communities. The aims of this study were to genetically define the HCV genotype and associated clinical characteristics of HIV/HCV co-infected patients from a region with commercial blood donation history in central China.
Methods
A cross sectional study, including 164 HIV infected subjects, was conducted in Shanxi province central China. Serum samples were collected and HCV antibody testing, AST and ALT testing were performed. Seropositive samples were further subjected to RT-PCR followed by direct sequence coupled with phylogenetic analysis of Core-E1 and NS5B regions performed in comparison with known reference genotypes.
Findings
A total of 139 subjects were HCV antibody positive. Genotype could be determined for 88 isolates. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the predominant circulating subtype was HCV 1b (65.9%), followed by HCV 2a (34.1%). The HCV viral load in the subjects infected with HIV1b was significantly higher than those infected with HCV 2a (P = 0.006). No significant difference for HCV RNA level was detected between ART status, CD4+ cell count level and HIV RNA level. Serum AST and ALT level were likely to increase with HCV RNA level, although no significance was observed. Those who had conducted commercial donation later than 1991 (OR 3.43, 95% CI: 1.12–10.48) and had a short duration of donation (OR 0.35, 95% CI: 0.13–0.96) were more likely to be infected with HCV 1b.
Conclusion
These results suggest that HCV subtype 1b predominates in this population, and the impact of HIV status and ART on HCV disease progression is not significantly correlated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094219
PMCID: PMC3978003  PMID: 24709894
8.  Risks for HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among male injection drug users in northern Vietnam: A case-control study 
AIDS care  2009;21(1):7-16.
Injection drug use (IDU) and HIV infection are important public health problems in Vietnam. The IDU population increased 70% from 2000 to 2004 and is disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS--the country’s second leading cause of death. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share transmission routes with HIV and cause serious medical consequences. This study aimed to determine risk factors for acquisition of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among IDUs in a northern province. We conducted a matched case-control study among active IDUs aged 18–45 who participated in a community-based survey (30-minute interview and serologic testing). Each HIV-infected IDU (case) was matched with one HIV-uninfected IDU (control) by age, sex (males only), and study site (128 pairs). Similar procedures were used for HBV infection (50 pairs) and HCV infection (65 pairs). Conditional logistic regression models were fit to identify risk factors for each infection. Among 309 surveyed IDUs, the HIV, HBV, and HCV prevalence was 42.4%, 80.9%, and 74.1%, respectively. Only 11.0% reported having been vaccinated against hepatitis B. While 13.3% of the IDUs reported sharing needles (past 6 months), 63.8% engaged in indirect sharing practices (past 6 months), including sharing drug solutions, containers, rinse water, and frontloading drugs. In multivariable models, sharing drugs through frontloading was significantly associated with HIV infection (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8), HBV infection (OR = 3.8), and HCV infection (OR = 4.6). We report an unrecognized association between sharing drugs through frontloading and higher rates of HIV, HBV and HCV infections among male IDUs in Vietnam. This finding may have important implications for bloodborne viral prevention for IDUs in Vietnam.
doi:10.1080/09540120802017610
PMCID: PMC2869448  PMID: 19085215
HIV; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; Vietnam; substance abuse
9.  HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Testing Delays at Methadone Clinics in Guangdong Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66787.
In China, injection drug use is a major transmission route for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Timely HIV and HCV testing among drug users is vital to earlier diagnosis, linkage to care, and retention. This study aimed to examine HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing delays at methadone clinics in Guangdong Province, China, and identify individual-level and clinic-level factors associated with delayed testing. Data from 13,270 individuals at 45 methadone clinics in Guangdong were abstracted from a national web-based surveillance database. A two-level binomial logit model was used to examine the association between individual- and clinic-level factors and delayed HIV and HCV testing, defined as receiving a test seven or more days after initial entry into the methadone system. Among 10,046 patients tested for HIV, 1882 (18.7%) had delayed testing; among 10,404 patients tested for HCV, 1542 (14.8%) had delayed testing. Among delayed testers, the median time to HCV testing was significantly longer than the median time to HIV testing (73 vs. 54 days, p<0.05). In the multivariate analysis, the likelihood of delayed HIV testing was higher among individuals with high school or greater education (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–1.72) and individuals enrolled at clinics with more patients (aOR 1.41, 95% CI 1.05–1.91, for each increase in 100). The likelihood of delayed HCV testing was higher among women (aOR 1.51, 95% CI 1.11–2.06) and employed individuals (aOR 1.21, 95% CI 1.02–1.43). Delayed testing for HIV and HCV is common among patients at methadone clinics in Guangdong, with many patients experiencing delays of two or more months. Structural interventions are needed to expedite testing once individuals enter the methadone maintenance program.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066787
PMCID: PMC3688574  PMID: 23818964
10.  Prevalence, Distribution, and Correlates of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Homeless Adults in Los Angeles 
Public Health Reports  2012;127(4):407-421.
SYNOPSIS
Objective
We documented the prevalence, distribution, and correlates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among urban homeless adults.
Methods
We sampled a community-based probability sample of 534 homeless adults from 41 shelters and meal programs in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, California. Participants were interviewed and tested for HCV, hepatitis B, and HIV. Outcomes included prevalence, distribution, and correlates of HCV infection; awareness of HCV positivity; and HCV counseling and treatment history.
Results
Overall, 26.7% of the sample tested HCV-positive and 4.0% tested HIV-positive. In logistic regression analysis, independent predictors of HCV infection for the total sample included older age, less education, prison history, and single- and multiple-drug injection. Among lifetime drug injectors, independent predictors of HCV infection included older age, prison history, and no history of intranasal cocaine use. Among reported non-injectors, predictors of HCV infection included older age, less education, use of non-injection drugs, and three or more tattoos. Sexual behaviors and snorting or smoking drugs had no independent relationship with HCV infection. Among HCV-infected adults, nearly half (46.1%) were unaware of their infection.
Conclusions
Despite the high prevalence of HCV infection, nearly half of the cases were hidden and few had ever received any HCV-related treatment. While injection drug use was the strongest independent predictor, patterns of injection drug use, non-injection drug use, prison stays, and multiple tattoos were also independent predictors of HCV. Findings suggest that urgent interventions are needed to screen, counsel, and treat urban homeless adults for HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3366378  PMID: 22753984
11.  Surveillance of HIV, Hepatitis B Virus, and Hepatitis C Virus in an Estonian Injection Drug–Using Population: Sensitivity and Specificity of Testing Syringes for Public Health Surveillance 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2005;193(3):455-457.
Surveillance of bloodborne infections among injection drug users (IDUs) can be accomplished by determining the presence of pathogen markers in used syringes. Parallel testing of returned syringes and venous blood from IDUs was conducted to detect antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Syringe surveillance for HIV yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 92% and 89%, respectively, and provided a reasonable estimate of the prevalence of HIV among participants. Because sensitivity for HBV (34%) and HCV (55%) was low, syringe testing may be useful for surveillance of hepatitis over time but not for estimation of prevalence.
doi:10.1086/499436
PMCID: PMC2917983  PMID: 16388495
12.  Co-infection of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C and hepatitis B virus among injection drug users in Drop in centers 
Background:
Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the three prevalent viral and bloodborne infections worldwide. Considering the similar route of transmission in these infections, their co-infections would be more challenging for health care professionals. Therefore, we investigated the rate of HIV/HBV/HCV co-infection among injection drug users (IDUs) referred to Drop in centers (DICs).
Materials and Methods:
In this cross-sectional study (2008-2009), IDUs referred to DICs in Isfahan province were evaluated. Venous blood samples were obtained and HBsAg, HBcAb, HCVAb, and HIVAb measured by using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay method. Demographic data and risk factors in patients with HBV/HCV, HIV/HCV, and HIV/HBV co-infections were obtained by a trained social worker using a structured checklist. Data were analyzed using Chi-square test, t-test, and multiple logistic regressions.
Results:
Totally, 539 IDUs with mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of 35.3 (7.9) were studied. HBV/HCV, HCV/HIV, and HBV/HIV co-infections were presented in 65 (12.1%), 6 (1.1%), and 0 (0%) of IDUs, respectively. All HIV infected IDUs were infected with HCV as well. There was a significant association between HBV/HCV co-infection and behaviors related to sharing needle (odds ratio [OR] = 2.06, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.23-3.45) and imprisonment (OR = 1.01, 95% CI; 1.04-1.06).
Conclusion:
According to the results of this study, history of imprisonment and needle sharing were the only adjusted risk factors for HCV/HBV co-infection in IDUs. This might be a warning for national health system and needs to urgent paying attention. It seems that expanded harm reduction strategies can be useful to reduce this co-infection and its mortality and morbidity rate among IDUs.
PMCID: PMC4078381
Co-infection; Drop in center; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus
13.  Fumonisin occurrence in corn from high- and low-risk areas for human esophageal cancer in China. 
Forty-seven corn samples were collected in 1989 from Linxian and Shangqiu Counties in Henan Province, the high- and low-risk areas, respectively, for human esophageal cancer in the People's Republic of China. The samples were analyzed for fumonisin (fumonisin B1 [FB1] and FB2) contamination. Of the fumonisin-positive samples, the mean levels in Linxian corn were found to be 872 ng/g for FB1 and 448 ng/g for FB2, while the Shangqiu corns had 890 ng of FB1 and 330 ng of FB2 per g. The incidence of fumonisin contamination of Linxian corn (48%) was about two times higher than that of Shangqiu corn (25%), and the former corn samples were frequently cocontaminated with trichothecenes. Fusarium species isolated from corn from Linxian County produced FB1 at levels ranging from 1,280 to 11,300 micrograms/g.
PMCID: PMC201527  PMID: 8017941
14.  Plasma Hepatitis C Virus Viral Load Among Hepatitis C Virus Mono-Infected and HCV/HIV Co-Infected Individuals in Yunnan Province,China 
Hepatitis Monthly  2012;12(7):453-459.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection has become a serious public health problem especially in high risk groups such as injection drug users in China. However, the impact of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HCV viral load which is usually regarded as a predictor of liver disease progress had not been well studied in this country.
Objectives
To explore correlations of HIV co-infection and ART with plasma HCV load among HCV-infected patients in an ethnic minority area in Yunnan Province, China.
Patients and Methods
HCV/HIV co-infected patients and HCV mono-infected controls were examined and compared for plasma HCV RNA and related risk factors.
Results
A total of 145 HCV/HIV co-infected patients and 25 HCV mono-infected controls were studied. The majority of the participants were male, belonged to an ethnic minority and were younger than 45 years old. HCV viral suppression rate with undetectable plasma HCV viral load was 28.3% in the HCV/HIV co-infected patients, 36% among HCV mono-infected controls and 29.4% overall. ART-prescribed HCV/HIV co-infected patients had significantly higher HCV viral loads (IQR: (3.80-6.44)*log10 copies ml-1) than those naïve to ART (IQR: (undetectable-6.41)*log10 copies ml-1) and HCV mono-infected patients (IQR: (undetectable-5.44)*log10 copies ml-1). Men, from the Dai minority and those with more than six years education, were also shown to have a higher plasma HCV viral load,according to multiple logistic regression analysis.
Conclusions
ART potentially increases the plasma HCV viral load among HCV/HIV coinfected patients in an ethnic minority area in China. Future large scale prospective cohort studies are needed to address the controversy associated between HIV co-infection and the natural history of HCV.
doi:10.5812/hepatmon.6160
PMCID: PMC3437457  PMID: 23008726
HIV; Coinfection; Antiretroviral therapy, Highly Active; Viral load
15.  Molecular Characterization of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 and Hepatitis C Virus in Paid Blood Donors and Injection Drug Users in China 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(24):13591-13599.
China is facing a rapid upsurge in cases of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection due to large numbers of paid blood donors (PBD), injection drug users (IDU), and sexual partners of infected individuals. In this report, a total of 236 HIV-1-positive blood samples were collected from PBD, IDU, and their sexual partners in the most severely affected provinces, such as Henan, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Xinjiang. PCR was used to amplify the p17 region of gag and the C2-V3 region of env of HIV-1 and the 5′ noncoding region and a region of E1/E2 of HCV. Genetic characterization of viral sequences indicated that there are two major epidemics of HIV-1 and multiple HCV epidemics in China. The PBD and transfusion recipients in Henan harbored HIV-1 subtype B′, which is similar to the virus found in Thailand, and HCV genotypes 1b and 2a, whereas the IDU in Yunnan, Guangxi, and Xinjiang carried HIV-1 circulating recombinant forms 07 and 08, which resemble those in India, and HCV genotypes 1b, 3a, and 3b. Our findings show that the epidemics of HIV-1 and HCV infection in China are the consequences of multiple introductions. The distinct distribution patterns of both the HIV-1 and HCV genotypes in the different high-risk groups are tightly linked to the mode of transmission rather than geographic proximity. These findings provide information relevant to antiviral therapy and vaccine development in China and should assist public health workers in implementing measures to reduce the further dissemination of these viruses in the world's most populous nation.
doi:10.1128/JVI.78.24.13591-13599.2004
PMCID: PMC533913  PMID: 15564470
16.  Rapid assessment of injection practices in Cambodia, 2002 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:56.
Background
Injection overuse and unsafe injection practices facilitate transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Anecdotal reports of unsafe and unnecessary therapeutic injections and the high prevalence of HBV (8.0%), HCV (6.5%), and HIV (2.6%) infection in Cambodia have raised concern over injection safety. To estimate the magnitude and patterns of such practices, a rapid assessment of injection practices was conducted.
Methods
We surveyed a random sample of the general population in Takeo Province and convenience samples of prescribers and injection providers in Takeo Province and Phnom Penh city regarding injection-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Injection providers were observed administering injections. Data were collected using standardized methods adapted from the World Health Organization safe injection assessment guidelines.
Results
Among the general population sample (n = 500), the overall injection rate was 5.9 injections per person-year, with 40% of participants reporting receipt of ≥ 1 injection during the previous 6 months. Therapeutic injections, intravenous infusions, and immunizations accounted for 74%, 16% and 10% of injections, respectively. The majority (>85%) of injections were received in the private sector. All participants who recalled their last injection reported the injection was administered with a newly opened disposable syringe and needle. Prescribers (n = 60) reported that 47% of the total prescriptions they wrote included a therapeutic injection or infusion. Among injection providers (n = 60), 58% recapped the syringe after use and 13% did not dispose of the used needle and syringe appropriately. Over half (53%) of the providers reported a needlestick injury during the previous 12 months. Ninety percent of prescribers and injection providers were aware HBV, HCV, and HIV were transmitted through unsafe injection practices. Knowledge of HIV transmission through "dirty" syringes among the general population was also high (95%).
Conclusion
Our data suggest that Cambodia has one of the world's highest rates of overall injection usage, despite general awareness of associated infection risks. Although there was little evidence of reuse of needles and syringes, support is needed for interventions to address injection overuse, healthcare worker safety and appropriate waste disposal.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-56
PMCID: PMC1173117  PMID: 15929800
17.  Human immunodeficiency virus–hepatitis C virus co-infection in pregnant women and perinatal transmission to infants in Thailand 
Summary
Objectives
The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence and factors associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and -uninfected Thai pregnant women and the rate of HCV transmission to their infants.
Patients and methods
Study subjects included 1435 HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants, enrolled in a perinatal HIV prevention trial, and a control group of 448 HIV-uninfected pregnant women. Women were screened for HCV antibodies with an enzyme immunoassay. Positive results were confirmed by recombinant immunoblot and HCV RNA quantification. Infants were tested for HCV antibodies at 18 months or for HCV RNA at between 6 weeks and 6 months.
Results
Of the HIV-infected women, 2.9% were HCV-infected compared to 0.5% of HIV-uninfected women (p = 0.001). Only history of intravenous drug use was associated with HCV infection in HIV-infected women. Ten percent of infants born to co-infected mothers acquired HCV. The risk of transmission was associated with a high maternal HCV RNA (p = 0.012), but not with HIV-1 load or CD4 count.
Conclusions
Acquisition of HCV through intravenous drug use partially explains the higher rate of HCV infection in HIV-infected Thai women than in HIV-uninfected controls. Perinatal transmission occurred in 10% of infants of HIV–HCV-co-infected mothers and was associated with high maternal HCV RNA.
doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2009.09.002
PMCID: PMC2886172  PMID: 20047847
HIV; HCV; Risk factors; Perinatal transmission; Intravenous drug use; Thailand
18.  Screening for Hepatitis C Virus in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Individuals 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(2):575-577.
Immunosuppression from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may impair antibody formation, and false-negative hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV) tests have been reported in individuals coinfected with HIV and HCV. It is unknown if the frequency of false-negative tests is sufficiently high to change screening recommendations in this setting. Thus, the prevalence of false-negative results for anti-HCV by third-generation tests was determined with samples from HIV-infected individuals. Sera from 559 HIV-infected and 944 HIV-negative prospectively followed injection drug users were tested for anti-HCV by a third-generation enzyme immunoassay and for HCV RNA by using a branched DNA assay and the HCV COBAS AMPLICOR system. Of 559 HIV-infected participants, 547 (97.8%) were anti-HCV positive. One of the remaining 12 anti-HCV-negative participants was HCV RNA positive, and she later developed detectable anti-HCV. Of the 944 HIV-negative participants, 825 (87.4%) were anti-HCV positive. One of the remaining 119 anti-HCV-negative participants was HCV RNA positive, and she also developed detectable anti-HCV at a later visit. These data indicate that HIV infection does not alter the approach to hepatitis C virus screening, which should be performed with third-generation assays for anti-HCV unless acute infection is suspected.
PMCID: PMC86151  PMID: 10655348
19.  Individual and Network Factors Associated With Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among Rural Appalachian Injection Drug Users 
American journal of public health  2012;103(1):e44-e52.
Objectives
We determined the factors associated with hepatitis C (HCV) infection among rural Appalachian drug users.
Methods
This study included 394 injection drug users (IDUs) participating in a study of social networks and infectious disease risk in Appalachian Kentucky. Trained staff conducted HCV, HIV, and herpes simplex-2 virus (HSV-2) testing, and an interviewer-administered questionnaire measured self-reported risk behaviors and sociometric network characteristics.
Results
The prevalence of HCV infection was 54.6% among rural IDUs. Lifetime factors independently associated with HCV infection included HSV-2, injecting for 5 or more years, posttraumatic stress disorder, injection of cocaine, and injection of prescription opioids. Recent (past-6-month) correlates of HCV infection included sharing of syringes (adjusted odds ratio = 2.24; 95% confidence interval = 1.32, 3.82) and greater levels of eigenvector centrality in the drug network.
Conclusions
One factor emerged that was potentially unique to rural IDUs: the association between injection of prescription opioids and HCV infection. Therefore, preventing transition to injection, especially among prescription opioid users, may curb transmission, as will increased access to opioid maintenance treatment, novel treatments for cocaine dependence, and syringe exchange.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300874
PMCID: PMC3518360  PMID: 23153148
20.  Antibody to hepatitis C virus in risk groups in Canada 
The prevalence of antibodies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) was studied in hemophiliacs, hemodialysis patients, intravenous drug abusers, female prisoners, homosexuals, individuals with no markers of recent hepatitis A or B virus infections and normal individuals (federal public servants), by an enzyme immunoassay (Ortho Diagnostic Systems Inc). Repeat positive samples were further tested by recombinant immunoblot assay (riba) HCV (Chiron Corp, California). The number of samples positive for antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) was higher with enzyme immunoassay than by riba HCV in most cases. A high prevalence of anti-HCV was detected in hemophiliacs by both enzyme immunoassay (68.8%) and riba HCV (53.7%). Among intravenous drug abusers and female prisoners the prevalence rates for anti-HCV were 42.8% and 29.8%, respectively, by riba HCV; the results with enzyme immunoassay were only slightly higher. The prevalence rate was also high by both tests (54.2%) in hemodialysis patients’ sera taken during 1980–82, when many cases of non-A,non-B hepatitis were suspected in this group. In contrast, only 14.1% of sera taken during 1990 were positive by riba HCV. In individuals with no markers of recent hepatitis A or B infections, 13.4% were positive by enzyme immunoassay, whereas only 4.5% were reactive by riba HCV. The lowest prevalence was seen in homosexuals (2.3%) and normal individuals (1.2%) by riba HCV. These results indicate a high prevalence of anti-HCV in high risk groups tested in Canada.
PMCID: PMC3307416  PMID: 22451759
Enzyme immunoassay; Hepatitis C virus; Non-A,non-B hepatitis
21.  HCV co-infection in HIV positive population in British Columbia, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:225.
Background
As HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) share some modes of transmission co-infection is not uncommon. This study used a population-based sample of HIV and HCV tested individuals to determine the prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection, the sequence of virus diagnoses, and demographic and associated risk factors.
Methods
Positive cases of HIV were linked to the combined laboratory database (of negative and positive HCV antibody results) and HCV reported cases in British Columbia (BC).
Results
Of 4,598 HIV cases with personal identifiers, 3,219 (70%) were linked to the combined HCV database, 1,700 (53%) of these were anti-HCV positive. HCV was diagnosed first in 52% of co-infected cases (median time to HIV identification 3 1/2 years). HIV and HCV was diagnosed within a two week window in 26% of cases. Among individuals who were diagnosed with HIV infection at baseline, subsequent diagnoses of HCV infection was independently associated with: i) intravenous drug use (IDU) in males and females, Hazard Ratio (HR) = 6.64 (95% CI: 4.86-9.07) and 9.76 (95% CI: 5.76-16.54) respectively; ii) reported Aboriginal ethnicity in females HR = 2.09 (95% CI: 1.34-3.27) and iii) males not identified as men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), HR = 2.99 (95% CI: 2.09-4.27).
Identification of HCV first compared to HIV first was independently associated with IDU in males and females OR = 2.83 (95% CI: 1.84-4.37) and 2.25 (95% CI: 1.15-4.39) respectively, but not Aboriginal ethnicity or MSM. HIV was identified first in 22%, with median time to HCV identification of 15 months;
Conclusion
The ability to link BC public health and laboratory HIV and HCV information provided a unique opportunity to explore demographic and risk factors associated with HIV/HCV co-infection. Over half of persons with HIV infection who were tested for HCV were anti-HCV positive; half of these had HCV diagnosed first with HIV identification a median 3.5 years later. This highlights the importance of public health follow-up and harm reduction measures for people identified with HCV to prevent subsequent HIV infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-225
PMCID: PMC2868820  PMID: 20429917
22.  How Often Are Major Blood-Borne Pathogens Found in Eye Patients? A Serosurvey at an Eye Hospital in Southern China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73994.
Background
The hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and treponema pallidum (TP) are blood-borne pathogens. They can lead to nosocomial and occupational infections in health care settings. We aimed to identify the prevalence of and risk factors associated with HBV, HCV, HIV and TP infections among patients with eye diseases at a tertiary eye hospital in Southern China.
Methods
From July 2011 to June 2012, a total of 26,386 blood units were collected from eye patients, including inpatients and the day surgery patients at Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, one of the biggest eye hospitals in China. Based on the primary diagnoses from this period, the subjects were classified into different ocular disease groups. All blood samples were tested for HBsAg, anti-HCV, anti-HIV and anti-TP.
Result
The overall prevalence of HBV, HCV, TP and HIV was 9.79%, 0.99%, 2.43% and 0.11%, respectively. The prevalence of HBsAg was much lower among patients younger than 20 years compared to other age groups. In addition, the risk of HBsAg was associated with the male gender, ocular trauma and glaucoma. The prevalence of TP increased with age and the prevalence among patients older than 30 was higher than that in patients younger than 20 years.
Conclusions
The prevalence of HBV, HCV, HIV and TP in patients with eye diseases was identified. This information can be utilised to strengthen the health education and implementation of universal safety precautions to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens in health care settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073994
PMCID: PMC3762772  PMID: 24023922
23.  Clinical Variables Identify Seronegative HCV Co-infection in HIV-Infected Individuals 
Background
A substantial number of people living with HIV (PLWH) are co-infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) but have a negative screening HCV antibody test (seronegative HCV infection, or SN-HCV).
Objective
To identify a concise set of clinical variables that could be used to improve case finding for SN-HCV co-infection among PLWH.
Study design
Two hundred HIV-infected participants of the CHARTER study were selected based on 7 clinical variables associated with HCV infection but were HCV seronegative. Data were analyzed using Fisher's exact tests, receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves, and logistic regression.
Results
Twenty-six (13%) participants had detectable HCV RNA. SN-HCV was associated with a history of IDU, elevated ALT and AST, low platelets, black ethnicity, and undetectable HIV RNA in plasma. Each of these clinical variables, except for abnormal AST, remained independently associated with SN-HCV in a multivariate logistic regression analysis. A composite risk score correctly identified SN-HCV with sensitivity up to 85% and specificity up to 88%.
Conclusions
In a substantial minority of PLWH, seronegative HCV viremia can be predicted by a small number of clinical variables. These findings, after validation in an unselected cohort, could help focus screening in those at highest risk.
doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2011.08.021
PMCID: PMC3217127  PMID: 21924674
Seronegative HCV; HIV; co-infection; case finding
24.  Equitable access to HCV care in HIV-HCV co-infection can be achieved despite barriers to health care provision 
Language barrier, race, immigration status, mental health illness, substance abuse and socioeconomic status are often not considered when evaluating hepatitis C virus (HCV) sustained virological response (SVR) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The influence of these factors on HCV work-up, treatment initiation and SVR were assessed in an HIV–HCV coinfected population and compared to patients with HCV mono-infection. The setting was a publicly funded, urban-based, multidisciplinary viral hepatitis clinic. A clinical database was utilized to identify HIV and HCV consults between June 2000 and June 2007. Measures of access to HCV care (ie, liver biopsy and HCV antiviral initiation) and SVR as a function of the above variables were evaluated and compared between patients with HIV–HCV and HCV. HIV–HCV co-infected (n = 106) and HCV mono-infected (n = 802) patients were evaluated. HIV–HCV patients were more often white (94% versus 84%) and male (87% versus 69%). Bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis on biopsy was more frequent in HIV–HCV (37% versus 22%; P = 0.03). HIV infection itself did not influence access to biopsy (50% versus 52%) or treatment initiation (39% versus 38%). Race, language barrier, immigration status, injection drug history and socioeconomic status did not influence access to biopsy or treatment. SVR was 54% in HCV and 30% in HIV–HCV (P = 0.003). Genotype and HIV were the only evaluated variables to predict SVR. Within the context of a socialized, multidisciplinary clinic, HIV–HCV co-infected patients received similar access to HCV work-up and care as HCV mono-infected patients. SVR is diminished in HIV–HCV co-infection independent of language barrier, race, immigration status, or socioeconomic status.
PMCID: PMC2861442  PMID: 20463782
HIV; HCV; sustained virological response; immigrant; language; barrier; race; health care access
25.  Co-Infection by Hepatitis C Virus in HIV-Infected Patients in Southern Brazil: Genotype Distribution and Clinical Correlates 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10494.
Background
Prevalence rates of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) co-infection, the distribution of HCV genotypes, and the frequency of spontaneous resolution of hepatitis C in patients infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) have a worldwide disparity. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) in patients with HIV, the proportion and correlates of infection by different HCV genotypes, and rates of spontaneous resolution of HCV infection.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1143 HIV patients under follow-up in a HIV/AIDS outpatient reference center of the Brazilian public health system. From 357 anti-HCV positive patients, a consecutive sample of 227 individuals HCV treatment-naïve was interviewed and 207 was tested for HCV-RNA and genotypes.
Results
Anti-HCV was detected in 357 patients (31.2%). HCV-RNA was undetectable in 16.4% of 207 anti-HCV positive individuals. Genotype 1 was diagnosed in 81.5% of the sample, genotype 2 in 1.7% and genotype 3 in 16.2%. Male gender was the unique characteristic associated with higher prevalence of genotype 1 HCV.
Conclusions
Co-infection by HCV is frequent among patients with HIV in our State, and it is particularly high the infection by HCV genotype 1. Further investigation is necessary to explain the important regional variation in the proportion of infection by the different HCV genotypes and to better understand rates of spontaneous HCV clearance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010494
PMCID: PMC2864745  PMID: 20463962

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