Risk Factors Associated With Skin and Soft Tissue Infections Among Hospitalized People Who Inject Drugs
Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are common among people who inject drugs (PWID), and can lead to serious morbidity and costly emergency room and hospital utilization. A range of high-risk injection practices may contribute to these infections. The goal of the current study was to examine risk practices that were associated with SSTIs in a sample of hospitalized PWID.Methods:
PWID (N = 143; 40.6% female) were recruited from inpatient medical units at a large urban hospital and completed a baseline interview that focused on infection risk. Measures included demographics, substances used/injected, and self-report of SSTIs (ie, abscesses, ulcers, or cellulitis) within the past year. The Bacterial Infections Risk Scale for Injectors—a 7-item index—assessed specific behaviors expected to increase the risk of acquiring SSTIs (eg, injection without skin cleaning, intramuscular injection).Results:
The sample was 58% Caucasian and averaged 38.7 (SD = 10.7) years of age. Ninety-three participants (65%) reported at least 1 SSTI within the past year. Using a logistic regression model, the Bacterial Infections Risk Scale for Injectors (odds ratio 1.87, P = 0.004) and total number of injections over the past 3 months (odds ratio 2.21, P = 0.002) were associated with past year SSTIs.Conclusions:
In conclusion, rates of past-year SSTIs were high in this sample of hospitalized PWID. Results suggest that interventions should target specific injection practices to reduce infection risk.