Correlates of Lending Needles/Syringes Among HIV-Seropositive Injection Drug Users

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Summary:Among HIV-positive injection drug users (IDUs), we examined the correlates of lending needles/syringes with HIV-negative and unknown status injection partners. HIV-positive IDUs (N = 738) from 4 cities in the United States who reported injection drug use with other IDUs in the past 3 months participated in an audio computer-assisted self-administered interview. Eighteen percent of study participants self-reported having lent their needles to HIV-negative or unknown status injection partners. Multivariate analyses showed that 6 variables were significantly associated with this high-risk injecting practice. Older IDUs, high school graduates, and those reporting more supportive peer norms for safer drug use were less likely to lend needles/syringes. Admission to a hospital for drug treatment in the past 6 months, having injected with >1 person in the past 3 months, and having more psychiatric symptoms were all associated with more risk. These findings underscore the need for a continued prevention focus on HIV-positive IDUs that recognizes the combination of drug use, mental health factors, and social factors that might affect this high-risk injecting practice, which could be associated with HIV and hepatitis C transmission.

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