Injection drug use, HIV/HCV, and related services in nonurban areas of the United States: A systematic review


BACKGROUND: Injection drug use (IDU) in nonurban areas of the United States is a growing public health concern, but there has been no comprehensive assessment of existing research on injection-related HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) in nonurban communities. We conducted a systematic review to assess the current literature and identify knowledge gaps. METHODS: We systematically searched six databases for relevant articles published between January 1990 and June 2016 and screened, extracted, and analyzed the resulting data. Studies were included if they reported original findings from the nonurban U.S. related to 1) IDU and its role in HIV/HCV transmission, and/or 2) HIV/HCV services for people who inject drugs (PWID). RESULTS: Of 2330 studies, 34 from 24 unique research projects in 17 states met inclusion criteria. Despite increasing HCV and high vulnerability to injection-related HIV outbreaks in nonurban areas, only three studies since 2010 recruited and tested PWID for HIV/HCV. Twelve reported on sharing injection equipment but used varying definitions of sharing, and only eight examined correlates of injection risk. Nine studies on syringe access suggest limited access through syringe exchange programs and pharmacies. Only two studies addressed HCV testing, none addressed HIV testing, and three examined behavioral or other interventions. CONCLUSIONS: Despite growing concern regarding nonurban IDU there are few studies of HIV/HCV and related services for PWID, and the existing literature covers a very limited geographical area. Current research provides minimal insights into any unique factors that influence injection risk and HIV/HCV service provision and utilization among nonurban PWID


Paquette CE, Pollini RA




  • Population(s)
    • People who use drugs
  • Prevention
    • Drug use behaviours/harm reduction
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C


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