Journal of Community Health

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 139–148 | Cite as

Prevalence and Correlates of Previous Hepatitis B Vaccination and Infection Among Young Drug-users In New York City

  • S. Amesty
  • D. C. Ompad
  • S. Galea
  • C. M. Fuller
  • Y. Wu
  • B. Koblin
  • D. Vlahov
Original Paper


Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination coverage remains low among drug users. In 1997, ACIP made hepatitis B vaccine available for persons aged 0–18 years and many states began requiring HBV vaccination for entry into middle school; these programs might affect HBV vaccination and infection rates in younger DUs. We were interested in determining correlates of immunization among younger (<25 years) and older (25 and older) DUs. Methods: A community-based sample of 1,211 heroin, crack, and cocaine users 18 or older was recruited from Harlem and the Bronx. We assessed previous HBV vaccination and infection and correlates using bivariate analyses. Results: The sample was predominantly male (74.0%), aged ≥25 years (67.1%) and Hispanic (59.9%). In terms of socioeconomic status, 57.1% had less than a high school education, 84.5% had been homeless in their lifetime, and 48.0% had an illegal main income source. Among 399 DUs younger than 25 years of age, 30% demonstrated serological evidence of previous vaccination, 49.9% were susceptible to HBV at baseline, and 20% showed evidence of infection. In our model, previous HBV infection and vaccination status were associated with being 22 years old or younger (AOR = 1.40 and 1.66). Compared to susceptible individuals, those vaccinated were significantly less likely to be born in other countries (AOR = 0.50). Among 812 DUs 25 and older, 10.6% demonstrated serological evidence of previous vaccination, 59.2% were susceptible to HBV at baseline, and 30.2% showed evidence of infection. Conclusion: Existing interventions to increase HBV vaccination among adolescents should target high risk groups.


Hepatitis B Substance use Vaccination 



This study was partly funded by Grants DA13146 and DA12801 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The HBV vaccinations were provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Vincent Edwards and Sandra Del Vecchio to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Amesty
    • 1
  • D. C. Ompad
    • 2
  • S. Galea
    • 2
    • 3
  • C. M. Fuller
    • 2
    • 4
  • Y. Wu
    • 5
  • B. Koblin
    • 4
    • 6
  • D. Vlahov
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Physicians and Surgeons, Center for Family and Community MedicineColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Urban Epidemiologic StudiesNew York Academy of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Center for the Study of Hepatitis CWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.New York Blood CenterNew YorkUSA

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