The southeastern region of Yunnan province is a key site for drug trafficking and HIV-1 infection spread from the west of Yunnan and Laos to southeastern China. To investigate the prevalence of HIV-1 infection and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection among injection drug users (IDUs) in southeastern Yunnan, three cohorts of 285 addicts, including 242 IDUs and 43 oral drug users, living in the cities of Gejiu and Kaiyuan and the county of Yanshan were studied. HIV-1 and HCV infections were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and/or polymerase chain reaction. Data on the age, sex, risk behavior, drug use history, employment, ethnic background, and marriage status were obtained by interview. The overall prevalence of HIV-1 infection was 71.9%. The rate of HCV coinfection among 138 HIV-1-infected IDUs was 99.3%. Most HIV-infected IDUs were 20 to 35 years old (86.7%) and were ethnic Han (75.9%), suggesting that the epidemic in Yunnan is no longer confined to non-Han ethnic minorities. HIV prevalence in female IDUs (81.2%) was significantly higher than in male IDUs (68.2%) (p < .05). The prevalence of HIV infection reached 68.4% after 1 year of injection drug use. Needle/syringe sharing is the major high risk factor for the spread of HIV-1 and HCV infections. Large-scale educational campaigns are urgently needed to reduce the spread of HIV and HCV infection in these regions.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Kunlong Ben, Molecular and Cell Immunology Laboratory, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, P.R. China; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Yutaka Takebe, Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Epidemiology, AIDS Research Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan; e-mail: email@example.com
The first two authors contributed equally to this study.
Manuscript received May 3, 2001; accepted October 12, 2001.
© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.