Baseline prevalence and correlates of HIV and HCV infection among people who inject drugs accessing a syringe services program; Miami, FL

Tyler S. Bartholomew, Jason Onugha, Corinne Bullock, Carolina Scaramutti, Hardik Patel, David W. Forrest, Daniel J. Feaster, Hansel E. Tookes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Blood-borne viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), are common infections among people who inject drugs (PWID). This study aims to determine the prevalence of HIV and HCV infection among PWID accessing the first legal syringe services program (SSP) in the state of Florida, along with examining baseline correlates of HIV and HCV infection. Methods: Baseline behavioral enrollment assessments of 837 participants accessing an SSP for the first time were analyzed. Patients self-reporting or testing HIV or HCV positive at the enrollment visit were included. Socio-demographic, drug use, and injection-related risk behaviors in the last 30 days were compared across groups defined by all combinations of HIV and HCV serostatus. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess correlates of baseline HCV and HIV infection independently. Results: Overall prevalence for HCV and HIV infection were 44.4% and 10.2%, respectively. After adjusting for confounders, the most significant correlates of baseline HCV infection were age (aOR = 1.01), lower education level (aOR = 1.13), currently homeless (aOR = 1.16), injecting more than seven times a day (aOR = 1.14), reusing syringes (aOR = 1.18), and sharing injection equipment (aOR = 1.13). The most significant predictors of baseline HIV infection were age (aOR = 1.01), non-Hispanic Black race (aOR = 1.28), Hispanic ethnicity (aOR = 1.12), gay or bisexual orientation (aOR = 1.22), and methamphetamine injection (aOR = 1.22). In addition, heroin injection (aOR = 0.92) was significantly associated with a lower odds of HIV infection. Discussion/conclusion: Baseline behavioral predictors differed between HIV infection and HCV infection among participants accessing syringe services. Understanding the risk factors associated with each infection should be considered when developing additional harm reduction interventions tailored for diverse PWID populations served at SSPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalHarm Reduction Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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