Blood borne diseases among addiction patients seeking outpatient treatment in a tertiary addictions management service in Singapore

First published: 10/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Background: Drug and alcohol misuse can increase an individual’s susceptibility in contracting blood-borne virus (BBV) illnesses. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C can be difficult to manage and contain. Preventing the spread of BBV’s is a key public health issue. Therefore it is important that clinicians and service providers understand the association between substance use and the prevalence of BBVs to plan and allocate healthcare resources accordingly.

Method: Participants (Mage= 44 years) comprised of 1145 (955 males, 107 females) treatment-seeking outpatients who fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse and dependence at the National Addictions Management Service (Singapore) between Jan 2014 to May 2016. Substances included the two most commonly used illicit drugs among the patient population (heroin and amphetamine) and alcohol. Variables collected included demographic and clinical information.

Results: 8.8% of participants have been diagnosed with at least one blood-borne disease prior to seeking treatment. Among the BBV diseases explored, hepatitis C was the most common (6.5%), followed by hepatitis B (1.8%) and HIV/AIDS (0.5%). Hepatitis C was most prevalent among patients seeking treatment for heroin dependence/abuse (11.8%) and so was hepatitis B (2.3%). HIV/AIDS was most prevalent among patients with amphetamine dependence/abuse (2.1%).

Conclusions: Previous studies conducted in Singapore were mainly in inpatient setting and the results showed high prevalence of Hepatitis C. The above data obtained from outpatient setting can be used for disease prevention and health planning. The result highlights the importance of targeted prevention methods to address BBV illness.

Co-Authors
Rebecca Ong- Research Assistant Dr Guo Song – Senior Consultant & Head of Research Department. Dr Asharani PV- Manger Research Department
Conflicts of interest:
Funding Sources: not applicable

no conflict of interest

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Mr Mohamed Zakir Karuvetil