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, 5 (3), 191-6

Hepatitis C Virus Infection Is Independently Associated With Depression Among Methadone Maintenance Treatment Heroin Users in China

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Hepatitis C Virus Infection Is Independently Associated With Depression Among Methadone Maintenance Treatment Heroin Users in China

Zhen Wang et al. Asia Pac Psychiatry.

Abstract

Introduction: Depression and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are two common conditions among heroin users in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT). However, the comorbid relationship between depression and HCV infection among MMT patients is not well understood.

Methods: One hundred and fifteen MMT patients were recruited from the Yangpu MMT Clinic in Shanghai. Demographic characteristics, drug use and HCV-related information were collected using a structured interview. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were administered to evaluate participants' symptoms of depression and stress severity. HCV antibody (anti-HCV) test results were collected from patients' MMT clinical medical records.

Results: 58.2% of participants were anti-HCV positive, and 41.3% scored moderate-to-severe for symptoms of depression (BDI-II scores >19). The prevalence of depressive symptoms (BDI-II score >19) was greater in HCV positive than HCV negative participants (51.6% versus 27.7%, respectively; P = 0.02). There was no significant difference in the perceived stress level by anti-HCV status; overall, the perceived stress level score was 15.9 ± 5.7. In logistic regression analysis, positive anti-HCV status (OR = 3.75, 95% CI = 1.42-9.90), and greater perceived stress (OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.11-1.36) were independently associated with depression, after controlling for gender, age, duration of drug use and the awareness of HCV infection.

Discussion: Depression and HCV infection are common and co-occurring among MMT patients in Shanghai. HCV infection itself appears to be associated with depressive symptoms regardless of whether the individual is aware of his HCV infection status. This finding indicates that it is important to consider the impact of depressive symptoms on injection risk behaviors and HCV transmission when planning intervention programs in MMT clinics.

Keywords: depression; hepatitis C; methadone maintenance treatment; perceived stress.

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