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Consequently, sharing injection equipment such as needles has been implicated as one of the most significant risk factors in the transmission of these infections in IDUs [3—5]. The prevalence of bloodborne hepatitis is usually higher among IDUs than in comparable non-IDU groups in the population .
There is some evidence indicating high prevalence rates of bloodborne infections among IDUs in different parts of Asia [7— 9]. Moreover, individuals infected with HBV, and to a lesser degree HCV, may transmit the virus to their sexual partners, and in the case of females to their offspring [6,10]. It is now recognized as being extremely important to prevent HCV infection among groups at high risk of HIV infection as it frequently progresses to chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma [6,10].
HIV infection is one of the most important public health concerns. A variety of specific risk factors of HIV infection in humans such as needle sharing and number of drug injections have been identified. A recent study showed the most common route of infection in IDUs was via shared syringes . In view of the limited data on the epidemiology of bloodborne viral infections among IDUs in our country, this study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV infections and their respective risk factors among this group in Shahr-e-Kord, a city in the south west of the Islamic Republic of Iran with a population of about The study sample comprised all those IDUs who enrolled in the State Welfare Organization of Iran, a voluntary rehabilitation centre, from July to October All were informed about the study and agreed to participate.
This rehabilitation centre is unique in this city. Its services are available to addicted people to help them to overcome their addiction using medical and psycho-social methods. The sex ratio was, however, skewed because of cultural and other limitations on females. Data were collected on sociodemographic status, history of incarceration and using shared syringes.