Published online Mar 28, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.1878
Revised: February 5, 2008
Published online: March 28, 2008
AIM: To study the virological and host factors influencing hepatitis C infection outcomes in heroin users in southern China.
METHODS: HCV RNA and associated factors were analyzed among 347 heroin users from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southern China who were hepatitis C virus (HCV) EIA positive for two or more consecutive visits.
RESULTS: Using the COBAS AMPLICOR HCV TEST, a remarkably low HCV RNA negative rate of 8.6% was detected. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, HCV RNA clearance was significantly associated with the presence of HBsAg (OR = 8.436, P < 0.0001), the lack of HIV-1 infection (OR = 0.256, P = 0.038) and age younger than 25 (OR = 0.400, P = 0.029).
CONCLUSION: Our study suggests HCV infection among Chinese heroin users results in high levels of viral persistence even amidst factors previously found to enhance viral clearance. Prospective studies of a possible genetic component within the Chinese population and the pathogenicity of non-genotype 1 HCV infections are needed.