Injecting drug users: Social networks and molecular epidemiology of HCV

  • Research program: Ethnographic Research
  • Project status: Completed
  • Start date: July 2000
  • Expected end date: June 2003
  • Completion date: November 2010
  • Funded by: NHMRC
  • Lead organisation:

HCV infection is a major public health problem in Australia, with an estimated 11,000 new infections per year occurring predominantly (>95%) among IDUs. The basic epidemiology of HCV among IDUs in Australia is well understood, but despite many findings being common across groups, rates of HCV transmission vary widely in different groups of IDUs. Individual behavioural risk does not explain these differences, and it may be that the explanation lies with the nature of IDU social networks. This research employs complementary social research/ethnographic and molecular epidemiological approaches to characterise fully the determinants of HCV transmission among IDUs. This improved knowledge of social network dynamics and their influence, and contact between risk networks, will be immensely valuable in combating HCV transmission.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
  • Chief Investigator: Nick Crofts, The Burnet Institute
  • Chief Investigator: Steve Locarnini, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Higgs, P., Moore, D. and Aitken, C. (2006). Engagement, reciprocity and advocacy: Ethical harm reduction practice in research with injecting drug users. Drug and Alcohol Review, 25, (5), pp. 419-423. DOI: 10.1080/09595230600876606 [RJ463] View web page