Drug-scene roles and HIV risk among Puerto Rican injection drug users in East Harlem, New York and Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
ABSTRACT This article describes and compares distributions of drug-scene roles, frequency of engaging in role behaviors, and relationships of role-holding to high-risk behaviors and sexual partnerships among Puerto Rican injection drug users in New York and Puerto Rico. For this study 561 street-recruited injection drug users in East Harlem, New York, and 312 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico were asked the number of days (in the last 30) in which they earned money or drugs in each of seven drug-scene roles; and about behaviors and egocentric risk partner characteristics in the last 30 days. East Harlem subjects were more likely to get resources by selling drugs and syringes, and buying drugs for someone else; Bayamón subjects were more likely to be "hit doctors," buy needles for others, operate a shooting gallery, or escort others to shooting galleries. All roles were part-time except shooting gallery management in East Harlem. About 27% of respondents at each site engaged in two or more roles. Many roles were associated with increased odds of injecting more than twice a day, receptive syringe sharing, distributive syringe sharing, receptive paraphernalia sharing, and having a drug-injecting sex partner. Drug-scene role structures vary between cities. Most roles are part-time pursuits. Role-holders have higher-risk behaviors and sexual partnerships than other drug injectors. Although further research is needed, drug-scene role-holders should be targeted for interventions to affect their own risk and their communications with others.
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ABSTRACT: This study assessed trends in HIV seroprevalence and needle-sharing behaviors among Puerto Rican injection drug users (IDUs) in Puerto Rico and New York. Data from two studies of IDUs conducted from 1992 through 1995 and 1998 through 1999 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and East Harlem, New York, were examined to assess trends over this period. Separate analyses were conducted for IDUs who were current crack smokers. Significant decreasing trends in seroprevalence were found among IDUs in the New York and Puerto Rico samples (p <.001). Significant decreasing trends in receptive and distributive needle sharing were found in the New York sample, and a significant decline in receptive sharing was found in the Puerto Rico sample. Overall, higher levels of needle-sharing behaviors were reported in Puerto Rico compared with New York. Decreasing trends in needle sharing and seroprevalence in both communities are an encouraging finding. Ongoing epidemiologic studies to monitor the epidemic and continued prevention efforts to help maintain or further these declines are needed, particularly to address the higher rates of needle sharing in Puerto Rico.JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 03/2001; 26(2):164-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
Article: Drug scene roles and HIV risk.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Drug scenes (social and spatial drug-using and drug-selling environments) have complex role structures. Many drug injectors earn money or drugs as drug or syringe sellers, hit doctors (people who help others to inject) commercial sex workers, or in other roles. This paper aims to measure "role behaviors" of drug injectors; describe which drug injectors are more likely to engage in such role behaviors; and to determine whether roles are related to elements of HIV risk. Cross-sectional study of drug injectors. Bushwick, a section of Brooklyn, New York, a major location for injection drug use and drug sales. Seven hundred and sixty-seven street-recruited drug injectors. Participants were interviewed about their roles, behaviors, socio-demographics and risk networks; sera were collected and assayed for HIV and hepatitis B core antibody. Socio-demographic variables are related to role-holding in complex ways. Economic need is generally associated with engaging in drug-scene role behaviors. Holders of these roles are at greater behavioral and network risk for HIV and other blood-borne infections than are other drug injectors. They also engage in extensive communication with other drug users, including discussion of HIV risk reduction. Role behaviors can be measured in quantitative studies, and seem to be related to HIV risk. Role-holders may be strategic targets for risk-reduction campaigns. It seems feasible and advisable to measure drug scene role-holding in research on drug users.Addiction 10/1998; 93(9):1403-16. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Injecting practices of illicit drug users in San Antonio, Texas, were studied by means of informal field interviews and participant observation. The methods injection drug users (IDUs) employed to obtain drugs seemed to affect their HIV risk behaviors. Many of the methods involve reciprocal exchanges between a person who has drugs and a person who wants drugs. The exchanges frequently occur in the context of asymmetrical social interactions. The person with the drugs usually occupies the dominant role in the interaction and determines the needle hygiene for both parties. Analysis of the decision-making process of IDUs indicates that the party in the dominant role may choose not to disinfect a syringe for a variety of reasons. An understanding of the subcultural rules that govern these interactions may provide valuable clues to researchers or educators who are designing interventions aimed at reducing HIV risk behaviors among IDUs. This research suggests that for IDUs in subordinate roles, education alone may be insufficient to produce behavior changes necessary to eliminate risk of HIV infection.Journal of psychoactive drugs 01/1992; 24(3):243-9. · 1.10 Impact Factor