Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted between December and January 2018. PWID (N=224) from Medellin were recruited via Respondent Driven Sampling. A survey was administered inquiring about sociodemographics, drug use, injection risk behaviors, and networks among others. Blood samples for HCV antibody testing were collected at study site. Binary logistic regression and multivariate analyses were performed.
Results: Participants’ average age was 28,47 (SD= 5,81) and 67,8% were 30 years old or younger. 39.7% were HCV antibody positive. Increased risk of HCV infection was associated with injecting daily in last six months (AOR: 2.9; CI: 1.21-6.9), having an injection network size of more than 20 PWID (AOR: 2.8; CI: 1.0-7.7) and knwing any HCV positive PWID (AOR: 3.9; CI: 1.6-9.5). Interestingly having ever consumed popper was found to be negativelly asscociated with HCV seropositivity (AOR 0.42; CI: 0.2-0.8).
Conclusion: PWID in Medellin are young and at high risk of HCV infection. We report a higher HCV prevalence than previous studies in other Colombia cities. Given young age of PWID, the high HCV prevalence and the network variables associated HCV infection urgent prevention efforst are needed to prevent a further spread of HCV (and potentially HIV) among PWID in Medellin.