A seroepidemiological survey of a group of 291 intravenous drug abusers (IVDAs), 45 household contacts of IVDAs, and 39 laboratory workers has been carried out to determine the prevalence of HIV-1, HIV-2, HTLV-1, and HBV antibodies in the sera, as well as to evaluate the role of various risk factors. Among i.v. drug abusers, the prevalence was 32.3% for HIV-1 and 6.6% for HTLV-1. For both viruses, the total figures did not significantly change from 1985 through 1987, accounting for a slow viral circulation in this group. No seropositivity (HIV-1, HTLV-1) was found among laboratory workers, whereas one subject was found seropositive for HIV-1 among household contacts. From 1985 to 1986, 5 out of 58 subjects seronegative for HIV-1 and 5 out of 82 seronegative for HTLV-1 seroconverted (incidence rates of 8.6 and 6.1%, respectively). From 1986 to 1987, none out of 11 seronegatives for HIV and 1 out of 16 seronegatives for HTLV-1 seroconverted. The total figures for hepatitis B markers were 79.2% among IVDAs, 24.4% among household contacts, and 25.6% among laboratory workers. A significant correlation was found between presence of HBV markers and seropositivity for HIV and HTLV-1. A significant association with HIV-1 seropositivity was found for history of sexual intercourse with HIV-1 seropositive partners and for sexual promiscuity. These data emphasize the important role played by sexual behavior in addition to needle-sharing in the spreading of multiple infections among drug abusers.
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