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February 28, 1996

Maintaining Low HIV Seroprevalence Among Injecting Drug Users

Author Affiliations

Department of Health Hong Kong

JAMA. 1996;275(8):596. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320020024

To the Editor.  —Dr Des Jarlais and colleagues1 gave an excellent analysis of factors crucial in maintaining a stable, low human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence in injecting drug users (IDUs) in five cities. We describe here our situation and experiences in Hong Kong for comparison.In 1994, the number of active drug users in Hong Kong was estimated to be approximately 40 000,2 a majority of whom have used heroin. The first case of HIV infection was reported in 1984. As of the end of September 1995, only 2% (12/602) of the cumulative reported cases were IDUs with a history of needle sharing. Other epidemiological studies have confirmed the low prevalence of HIV infection in the drug-taking community. In the past 10 years, only two positive samples were detected out of 8706 voluntary tests done at methadone clinics and other drug rehabilitation services. Unlinked anonymous screening of 11775