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Do risk factors increase measurement of hepatitis B, C signs and HIV-AIDS among middle-aged and older IDUs in southwest Iran?

Abdolrahim Asadollahi (Aging Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, The Islamic Republic of Iran)
Abdolkarim Najafi (Aria Comprehensive Addiction Center, Ahwaz, Iran)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 11 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 August 2019




Injecting drug use addiction is a main factor in hepatitis B, C infection and HIV–AIDS infection. The purpose of this paper is to measure seroprevalence of hepatitis B, C virus and HIV–AIDS amongst injecting drug users (IDUs) and its influencing factors.


The cross-sectional method was used in mid-2017 in Ahwaz city, southwest Iran. In total, 133 IDUs, aged 29–71 years (mean age=48.21 ± 10.4), were chosen from Aria addiction treatment centre. The data were collected on demographic and behavioural characteristics. In addition, serum samples were screened for those diseases.


In a total of 131 IDUs, 2 (1.5 per cent) were HIV+, 16 (11.7 per cent) HCV+ and 8 (6.1 per cent) HBV+. There was a significant correlation between diseases and IDU. Results of multiple regression stated that IDU was a more predicting variable as β=0.76 and the model was able to predict 74.1 per cent of the variance, F (3, 35)=12.42, ρ<0.001, R2=0.741, OR=3.01, 95% CI [1.44, 3.83]. The synchronised pairwise effect of age, imprisonment and IDU with GLM analysis was significant, F (2, 114)=20.433, ρ<0.000, η HCV + 2 = 0.609 , η HBV + 2 = 0.616 , and η HCV + 2 = 0.612 , λWilks’=0.056. The infection rate among IDUs was significant and the most important risk factor for these infections has been intravenous drug use, together with age of misusing and imprisonment.

Research limitations/implications

The non-cooperation of two samples, lack of participation of three addiction rehabilitation centres in Ahwaz city, the end of cooperation in the first two months of the implementation of the plan, and the lack of consistency of the three serum samples in the cases (two cases) were limitations of the study.

Practical implications

Based on the results, the following suggestions could be presented: establishing “Intervention Clubs” for treatment in the peripheral urban areas for the participation of women drug users – the responsible organisation is Cultural and Social Deputy of Ahwaz Municipality Organisation. Integration of “Small Self-caring Groups” in Sepidar Women’s Penitentiary in the East Ahwaz region – the responsible organisation is Khuzistan Province Prisons Organisation (the southwestern Iranian prisons authority); constructing “Community-based Committees” to increase the level of social intervention – the responsible organisation is the Iran Drug Control Headquarters at Iranian Presidential Office; screening of injecting drug use in the populations at risk, especially girls and women in marginalised areas – the responsible organisation is Deputy Director of Prevention and Treatment of Addiction in the Iran Welfare and Rehabilitation Organisation; establishing an “Patient Treatment Center” in high-risk areas along with directing drug users and supervising the relevant authorities – the responsible organisation is Deputy Police Commander on Social Assistance; providing education to families involved with addiction in the “Neighborhood Parks” – the responsible organisation is Deputy for Health Affairs.

Social implications

They are mixed with practical implications as well.


The comprehensive harm reduction plan and prison-related issues of IDUs with shared syringe along with the pairwise age and imprisonment need to consider the above factors.



The authors declare that they have no competing interests. The ideas expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Aria Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Addiction Centre, Ahwaz, Iran. Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. Written and verbal consent of patients was obtained before participation in the study. Ethical matters, e.g. plagiarism, informed consent, misconduct, data fabrication and/or falsification, double publication and/or submission, redundancy, etc., have been fully observed by the authors. All the participants received a verbal explanation about the study objectives and procedures, and then they signed written informed consents for taking part in the study. The participants were also reassured about the anonymity and confidentiality of their information. Also, the ethics committee of the Ahwaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences has approved the research with ethical N0: IRAJUMS.PHNM1396-6421. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments including informed consent and confidentiality of all personal information. AN has contributed to the design, performed the interviews, and supervised the extraction of blood samples. AA has interpreted the methods and results and written the draft and discussion; both authors have approved the final manuscript as well. The authors wish to express their gratitude to the editor, all colleagues and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


Asadollahi, A. and Najafi, A. (2019), "Do risk factors increase measurement of hepatitis B, C signs and HIV-AIDS among middle-aged and older IDUs in southwest Iran?", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 230-238.



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