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  • Prevalence of, and risk factors for, human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections among men who inject image and performance enhancing drugs in England & Wales.

    Posted on April 23rd, 2013 TimB No comments

    Dr Vivian Hope of Public Health England told the British HIV Association conference yesterday that injection of image- and performance-enhancing drugs is rising in England and Wales. Moreover, his research suggests that men may be acquiring bloodborne viruses through this route – 1.5% had antibodies to HIV, 8.8% had antibodies to hepatitis B and 5.5% to hepatitis C.

    Dr Hope said that across the world, only three previous studies have been conducted on HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs which are taken to enhance body image, physical strength or performance. One of these three was conducted in the UK in the mid-1990s and did not find any HIV infections in those surveyed.

    There are reports of increased numbers of people injecting these drugs who present to needle and syringe exchanges. However, not all syringe exchanges have the skills and experience to meet their needs. The injecting process is different to that of opiates ­– these drugs are normally delivered in a sealed vial, and are not usually injected into a vein, but into a muscle or beneath the skin.

    Moreover, the social profile of injectors of image- and performance-enhancing drugs is different to that of opiate injectors – younger, more likely to be employed, less likely to have had problems with the criminal justice system.

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