Sharing paraphernalia does not directly result in hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission but instead is a surrogate for transmissions resulting from sharing drugs, a recent study found. In experiments designed to replicate real-world injection practices when drugs are shared, the residual contents of HCV-contaminated syringes with detachable or fixed needles were passed through the “cookers” and filters used by people who inject drugs (PWID) in preparing drugs for injection and then introduced into a second syringe. All items were tested for the presence of infectious HCV using a chimeric HCV with a luciferase gene. Researchers found:
- HCV could not be recovered from cookers regardless of input syringe type or cooker design.
- Recovery was higher when comparing detachable needles to fixed needles for residue in input syringes, filters, and receptive syringes.
Heimer R, Binka M, Koester S, et al. Recovery of infectious hepatitis C virus from injection paraphernalia: Implications for prevention programs serving people who inject drugs. J Infect Dis. 2018;217(3):466-473. doi:10.1093/infdis/jix427.
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