September 16, 2013

HIV warning for steroid injections

bloggerOne in 10 men who inject themselves with anabolic steroids or tanning drugs have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, according to a British study.

Public Health England (PHE) says the number of those who use image and performance-enhancing drugs has rapidly grown over the past 20 years.

Co-author Jim McVeigh, from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, said: 'Injectors of anabolic steroids and associated drugs are now the biggest client group at many needle and syringe programs in the UK.

'This research shows that anyone who injects drugs is at risk of HIV and other blood-borne viruses, regardless of their substance of choice.'

Lead author of the report Dr Vivian Hope, PHE's expert in infections among people who inject drugs, said: 'Our study suggests that levels of HIV and hepatitis infection among men using image and performance-enhancing drugs have increased since the 1990s.

'While we must be cautious in generalising these early findings, they are concerning and show that further research is required.'

Researchers from PHE and Liverpool John Moores University questioned 395 men who use such drugs for the study, published in BMJ Open today.

They found one in 18 injectors had been exposed to hepatitis C, one in 11 had been exposed to hepatitis B and one in 65 have HIV.

Overall, one in 10 had been exposed to one or more of the blood-borne viruses.

The survey also looked at the lifestyle of those surveyed and found that only 20% said they had always used a condom when having sex in the previous year.

Dr. Fortune Ncube, consultant epidemiologist and the PHE's lead on injecting drug use, said: 'These findings suggest serious health implications for users of image and performance-enhancing drugs, but also for their sexual partners and ultimately the wider community.

Full Story