5 years ago

A syndemic approach to assess the effect of substance use and social disparities on the evolution of HIV/HCV infections in British Columbia

Maria Alvarez, Zahid Ahmad Butt, Theodora Consolacion, Mark W. Tyndall, Margot Kuo, David Roth, Amanda Yu, Mark Gilbert, for the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort, Mel Krajden, Hasina Samji, Travis S. Hottes, Stanley Wong, Robert Balshaw, Gina Ogilvie, James C. Johnston, Jason Wong, Dionne Gesink, Naveed Z. Janjua, Michelle Murti, Jane A. Buxton, Victoria J. Cook, Nabin Shrestha

by Zahid Ahmad Butt, Nabin Shrestha, Stanley Wong, Margot Kuo, Dionne Gesink, Mark Gilbert, Jason Wong, Amanda Yu, Maria Alvarez, Hasina Samji, Jane A. Buxton, James C. Johnston, Victoria J. Cook, David Roth, Theodora Consolacion, Michelle Murti, Travis S. Hottes, Gina Ogilvie, Robert Balshaw, Mark W. Tyndall, Mel Krajden, Naveed Z. Janjua, for the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort


Co-occurrence of social conditions and infections may affect HIV/HCV disease risk and progression. We examined the changes in relationship of these social conditions and infections on HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections over time in British Columbia during 1990–2013.


The BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort (BC-HTC) includes ~1.5 million individuals tested for HIV or HCV, or reported as a case of HCV, HIV, HBV, or tuberculosis linked to administrative healthcare databases. We classified HCV and HIV infection status into five combinations: HIV-/HCV-, HIV+monoinfected, HIV-/HCV+seroconverters, HIV-/HCV+prevalent, and HIV+/HCV+.


Of 1.37 million eligible individuals, 4.1% were HIV-/HCV+prevalent, 0.5% HIV+monoinfected, 0.3% HIV+/HCV+ co-infected and 0.5% HIV-/HCV+seroconverters. Overall, HIV+monoinfected individuals lived in urban areas (92%), had low injection drug use (IDU) (4%), problematic alcohol use (4%) and were materially more privileged than other groups. HIV+/HCV+ co-infected and HIV-/HCV+seroconverters were materially most deprived (37%, 32%), had higher IDU (28%, 49%), problematic alcohol use (14%, 17%) and major mental illnesses (12%, 21%). IDU, opioid substitution therapy, and material deprivation increased in HIV-/HCV+seroconverters over time. In multivariable multinomial regression models, over time, the odds of IDU declined among HIV-/HCV+prevalent and HIV+monoinfected individuals but not in HIV-/HCV+seroconverters. Declines in odds of problematic alcohol use were observed in HIV-/HCV+seroconverters and coinfected individuals over time.


These results highlight need for designing prevention, care and support services for HIV and HCV infected populations based on the evolving syndemics of infections and social conditions which vary across groups.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183609

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