The risk of infection with HIV and hepatitis B in individuals who inject steroids in England and Wales

Epidemiol Infect. 1998 Oct;121(2):381-6. doi: 10.1017/s0950268898001265.


Data on injecting anabolic steroid users, within the national Unlinked Anonymous HIV Prevalence Monitoring Survey of injecting drug users (IDUs) were analysed to determine their risk of acquiring blood borne viruses. One hundred and forty-nine participants who had injected anabolic steroids in the previous month were identified from 1991-6, contributing 1.4% of all participation episodes in the survey. Rates of needle and syringe sharing by steroid users were low. Three of the 149 (2.0%) had anti-HBc and none had anti-HIV in their salivary specimens. The prevalence of anti-HBc in steroid injectors was significantly lower than in heroin injectors, 275/1509 (18%) (P < 0.001), or in amphetamine injectors, 28/239 (12%) (P < 0.001). The risk of blood borne virus transmission amongst these steroid injectors is low, probably due to hygienic use of injecting equipment and low levels of sharing. It is important to distinguish steroid injectors from other IDUs because they are a distinct group in terms of lifestyle and injecting practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Data Collection
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needle Sharing
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / virology
  • Wales / epidemiology


  • Anabolic Agents