Incidence and prevalence of hepatitis c virus infection among persons who inject drugs in New York City: 2006-2013

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Jul 1;152:194-200. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.03.039. Epub 2015 Apr 13.


Background: Hepatitis C virus infection is a source of significant preventable morbidity and mortality among persons who inject drugs (PWID). We sought to assess trends in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among PWID from 2006 to 2013 in New York City (NYC).

Methods: Annual cross-sectional surveys of PWID entering a large drug abuse treatment program were performed. Risk behavior questionnaires were administered, and HIV and HCV testing were conducted. Comparisons were made with prior prevalence and incidence estimates in 1990-1991 and 2000-2001 reflecting different periods of combined prevention and treatment efforts.

Results: HCV prevalence among PWID (N: 1535) was 67% (95% CI: 66-70%) during the study period, and was not significantly different from that observed in 2000-2001. The estimated HCV incidence among new injectors (persons injecting for ≤6 years) during 2006-2013 was 19.5/100 PYO (95% CI: 17-23) and did not differ from that observed in 2000-2001 (18/100 PYO, 95% CI: 14-23/100).

Conclusions: Despite the expansion of combined prevention programming between 2000-2001 and 2006-2013, HCV prevalence remained high. Estimated HCV incidence among new injectors also remained high, and not significantly lower than in 2000-2001, indicating that expanded combined prevention efforts are needed to control the HCV epidemic among PWID in NYC.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus infection; Medication assisted treatment; Methadone maintenance treatment; Needle/syringe exchange program; People who inject drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult