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Student: Katie MacKay
Supervisors: Cheryl Brunton [Department of Public Health & General Practice], Charles Henderson [Needle Exchange New Zealand]
Sponsor: Ministry of Health

During two weeks in November 2004, IDU clients attending nine NZ needle exchanges completed anonymous questionnaires, and provided finger-prick blood samples. Four hundred and twelve people completed questionnaires during the two-week study period. Completed questionnaires and matching blood samples were obtained for 403 people. Four respondents tested positive for HIV (1%) though only one was positive on confirmatory testing (0.3%). Almost two thirds (61%) of respondents tested were not immune to HBV. The prevalence of HCV was high (70%) and strongly associated with age and duration of injecting. Higher rates of HCV were found in males and those who had been on a methadone programme. No association was found between HCV status and ethnicity or recent injecting behaviours. Eighty-eight percent of respondents had been previously tested for HIV, and 91% for HCV and 65% for HBV.

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