Patterns of HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II in intravenous drug abusers from the middle atlantic and central regions of the USA

J Infect Dis. 1990 Aug;162(2):347-52. doi: 10.1093/infdis/162.2.347.


Seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV-I/II) was determined among 1160 intravenous (iv) drug abusers from five drug treatment or medical centers (Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Detroit, and New Orleans). HIV-1 infection ranged from 5% in New Orleans to 48% in New York City. Hispanics and blacks had a significantly higher rate of HIV-1 infection than whites (P less than .01), but within each group rates were similar between males and females and by age stratum. HTLV-I/II seroprevalence increased with age from 3% in the 20-29 year age group to 37% in the group greater than 50 years. New Orleans and Manhattan (24%) had the highest rate, and blacks (19%) had a higher rate than either Hispanics (6.3%) or whites (7.3%). No association between HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II infection was observed except in Manhattan. When compared with iv drug abusers infected only with HIV-1, dually infected subjects had more clinical symptoms related to immune deficiency but a lower prevalence of HIV antigenemia. These data document the frequent occurrence of retroviral infections in iv drug abusers. The contrast between the two classes of virus suggests that HIV-1 is more efficiently transmitted, while the age-dependent rise in HTLV-I/II seroprevalence suggests cumulative exposure of a less-transmissible agent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Seroprevalence
  • HIV-1* / immunology
  • HTLV-I Antibodies / blood
  • HTLV-I Infections / complications
  • HTLV-I Infections / epidemiology*
  • HTLV-I Infections / ethnology
  • HTLV-II Antibodies / blood
  • HTLV-II Infections / complications
  • HTLV-II Infections / epidemiology*
  • HTLV-II Infections / ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Louisiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*
  • White People


  • HTLV-I Antibodies
  • HTLV-II Antibodies