Objectives. We investigated a cluster of new hepatitis C cases in rural New York among a cohort of young people who inject drugs (PWID) and misuse prescription opioid analgesics (POA).
Methods. We recruited a purposive sample of PWID from Cortland County for an in-person survey and HCV rapid antibody test (March-July 2012). We examined sociodemographics, drugs currently injected, and lifetime and recent injection behaviors to ascertain associations with HCV antibody (anti-HCV) positivity.
Results. Of 123 PWID, 76 (61.8%) were younger than 30 years, and 100 (81.3%) received HCV rapid testing. Of those tested, 34 (34.0%) were positive. Participants who reported injecting POA in the past 12 months were 5 times more likely to be anti-HCV positive than those who injected drugs other than POA, and participants who reported sharing injection equipment in the past 12 months were roughly 4 times more likely to be anti-HCV positive than those who did not.
Conclusions. Our analysis suggests people injecting POA may be at higher risk for HCV infection than people who inject heroin or other drugs but not POA.