Prevalence of hepatitis C, HIV, and risk behaviors for blood-borne infections: a population-based survey of the adult population of T'bilisi, Republic of Georgia

J Urban Health. 2006 Mar;83(2):289-98. doi: 10.1007/s11524-006-9032-y.


Injection drug use and associated hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV infections are on the rise in Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union. While small targeted studies have found widespread drug use and disease among at-risk populations, there have been few attempts to comprehensively evaluate the extent of these epidemics in general post-Soviet societies. We conducted a two-stage cluster randomized survey of the entire adult population of T'bilisi, Republic of Georgia and assessed the burden of HCV, HIV, and risk behaviors for blood-borne infections in 2,000 study participants. Of the 2,000 surveyed individuals, 162 (8.1%) had injected illicit drugs during their lifetimes. Of the individuals who had injected illicit drugs, 138 (85.2%) reported sharing needles with injection partners. HCV was found in 134 (6.7%) of the total surveyed population, but in 114 (70.4%) of those who had injected illicit drugs. We found HIV in only three (0.2%) individuals, all of whom had injected illicit drugs. Injection drug use and high-risk injection practices are very common in Georgia and may be harbingers of a large burden of HCV-associated liver diseases and a potentially serious HIV epidemic in the years to come.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Georgia (Republic) / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needle Sharing / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires