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Hepatitis C Serosorting Behaviors: An Urban/Rural Comparison

Wed, Nov 15, 11:00am to 12:20pm, Marriott, Room 305, 3rd Floor

Abstract

Due to the heightened threat of viral infection, people who inject drugs (PWID) have developed strategies to minimize risk. One of these is serosorting, a process whereby PWID ask potential injection partners about their infection status and seek out partners of concordant status. However, not all communities have the same norms when it comes to risk management, including serosorting. Using data from the CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Study, as well as our own data collected using a similar methodology, we compare the serosorting behaviors of two areas in Puerto Rico – one rural and one urban. Specifically, respondents are surveyed on whether or not they knew the Hepatitis C (HCV) infection status of their last injection partner. Whereas infection status is predictive of having this serosorting information in the urban sample, with HCV+ respondents being more likely to know their last partner’s status, no such relationship is found in the rural sample. This suggests that strategies to curb viral transmission in urban populations may not have the same effect in rural areas, and highlights the need for additional research on rural PWID.

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