Injection of cocaine is associated with a recent HIV outbreak in people who inject drugs in Luxembourg

Vic Arendt, Laurence Guillorit, Alain Origer, Nicolas Sauvageot, Michel Vaillant, Aurélie Fischer, Henri Goedertz, Jean Hugues François, Ivailo Alexiev, Thérèse Staub, Carole Seguin-Devaux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background An outbreak of HIV infections among people who inject drugs (PWID) started in 2014 in Luxembourg. Objectives We conducted phylogenetic and epidemiological analyses among the PWID infected with HIV in Luxembourg or attending the supervised drug consumption facility (SDCF) to understand the main causes of the outbreak. Methods Between January 2013 and December 2017, analysis of medical files were performed from all PWID infected with HIV at the National Service of Infectious Diseases (NSID) providing clinical care nationwide. PWID were interviewed at NSID and SDCF using a standardized questionnaire focused on drug consumption and risk behaviours. The national drug monitoring system RELIS was consulted to determine the frequency of cocaine/heroin use. Transmission clusters were analysed by phylogenetic analyses using approximate maximum-likelihood. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed on epidemiological data collected at NSID and SDCF to determine risk factors associated with cocaine use. Results From January 2013 to December 2017, 68 new diagnosis of HIV infection reported injecting drug use as the main risk of transmission at NSID. The proportion of female cases enrolled between 2013–2017 was higher than the proportion among cases enrolled prior to 2013. (33% vs 21%, p < 0.05). Fifty six viral sequences were obtained from the 68 PWID newly diagnosed for HIV. Two main transmission clusters were revealed: one HIV-1 subtype B cluster and one CRF14_BG cluster including 37 and 9 patients diagnosed since 2013, respectively. Interviews from 32/68 (47%) newly diagnosed PWID revealed that 12/32 (37.5%) were homeless and 27/32 (84.4%) injected cocaine. Increased cocaine injection was indeed reported by the RELIS participants from 53 to 63% in drug users with services contacts between 2012 and 2015, and from 5 to 22% in SDCF users between 2012 and 2016. Compared with PWID who injected only heroin (n = 63), PWID injecting cocaine and heroin (n = 107) were younger (mean of 38 vs 44 years, p0.001), reported more frequent piercing (0.001), shared and injected drugs more often (p0.01), and were more frequently HIV positive (p<0.05) at SDCF using univariate logistic regression analysis. Finally, in the multivariate analysis, use of heroin and cocaine was independently associated with younger age, piercing, sharing of drugs, and regular consumption (p<0.05). Conclusions Injecting cocaine is a new trend of drug use in Luxembourg associated with HIV infection in this recent outbreak among PWID.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0215570
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Injection of cocaine is associated with a recent HIV outbreak in people who inject drugs in Luxembourg'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this