Introduction and Aims: Historically, people who inject image and performance enhancing drugs (IPED) were not perceived as being at high risk of HIV or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, recent studies indicate HCV and HIV prevalences are elevated, with many HCV infections undiagnosed.
Design and Methods: Men who inject IPEDs recruited from community settings and specialist services, including needle-syringe programs, across UK during 2016 self-completed a questionnaire. Multivariate analyses examined factors associated with HCV/HIV testing. Results: The participants' (n=562; 24% service recruited) median age was 31 years, 4% identified as gay or bisexual, 18% had ever been imprisoned and 6% had ever injected a psychoactive drug. Those community recruited more often reported sharing drugs vials (16% vs. 8%, P=0.021) and, among those with 2+ sexual partners, poor condom use (50% vs. 36%, P=0.063), than those service recruited. Overall, one-third had ever been tested for HCV (31%) and/or HIV (34%). Testing uptake was associated with other risk factors for HCV/HIV, being recruited through services and having received metabolic tests. Participants' motivations for using IPEDs were associated with recruitment setting and HIV/HCV testing uptake.
Discussion and Conclusions: The majority were untested for HCV/HIV. HCV/HIV testing and risks were associated with recruitment through services. Previous needle and syringe program-based studies have potentially overestimated testing uptake and underestimated risk. Targeted interventions are needed, particularly for those not accessing services. The association between HCV/HIV testing uptake and receipt of metabolic tests suggests that developing a combined offer of these tests as part of health monitoring could improve uptake.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to all of the people who took part in the survey, and to those who assisted with the fieldwork.
© 2020 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
- hepatitis C
- performance enhancing substance