In recent years, a boom of synthetic drugs, especially methamphetamine has been documented in China, however, the situation in Jiangsu was unclear. The objective of this study was to evaluate the changing trends in types of drug used, examine the prevalence trends of HIV, syphilis and HCV over time and compare the demographic, drug and sexual behaviors among different types of people who use drugs (PWD) in Jiangsu Province, China.
Consecutive cross-sectional studies were conducted from 2011 to 2015 in nine compulsory detoxification centers, which were HIV sentinel surveillance sites, in Jiangsu Province, China. A structured questionnaire was administered in a face-to-face interview with each participant to collect demographic, behavioral and laboratory information. Participants were classified into three types: opioids PWD (using heroin, opium, morphine and dolantin); stimulant PWD (using cocaine, methamphetamine, methylene dioxymetham-phetamine and Magu); poly-drug PWD (using opioids and stimulant drugs simultaneously).
Among a total of 16,164 PWD recruited from 2011 to 2015, the proportion of opioids PWD declined from 40.1% in 2011 to 11.8% in 2015, while the proportion of stimulant PWD increased from 53.6% to 84.3%. Overall HIV, syphilis, and HCV prevalence for the period was 0.3%, 9.6% and 31.6%, respectively. As types of drugs used shifted from opioids to stimulants, HIV prevalence increased (P = 0.031) while HCV decreased (P<0.001). HIV, syphilis and HCV prevalence trends varied across the three subgroups. Injection and needle-sharing behaviors differed between opioids and stimulant PWD, whereas unsafe sexual behaviors were similar. Poly-drug PWD might have higher risks for these infections due to combinations of unsafe sexual and injection behaviors.
Although the trend of drugs used have changed over time, HIV, syphilis and HCV infection risk behaviors among PWD still exist. Therefore, traditional intervention strategies should seek to address the challenge of increasing stimulant PWD. Access to convenient testing services, as well as pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV risk reduction should be improved among PWD. Antiviral treatment for HCV should be added to medical insurance coverage as soon as possible in Jiangsu Province.

Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.