Young injectors: A comparative analysis of risk behaviour

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Abstract

This study compares the injecting and sexual risk-behaviour of young injectors, with injectors over the age of 25. All respondents presented for the first time at the Merchants' Quay Health Promotion Unit between May 1st 1997 and February 28th 1998. Analysis revealed that the young injectors were significantly more likely to report recently borrowing and lending used injecting equipment, and injecting paraphernalia. Regarding sexual risk behaviour, younger respondents were proportionately more likely to report being sexually active, having multiple sexual partners, and having a regular partner who is an injecting drug user. However, they were significantly more likely than older clients to report condom use. The suggestion is that the harm minimisation message, which reached its zenith in the early 1990s, has now been somewhat de-emphasised in both policy and practice. Consequently, it is not reaching the young injectors who have recently initiated intravenous drug use. Additional strategies are needed to target this group of drug users, in order to promote positive behaviour changes.

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