The dynamics of injection drug users' personal networks and HIV risk behaviors.

Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions Program, Research Triangle Institute, International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.6). 08/2006; 101(7):1003-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01431.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While studies of the social networks of injection drug users (IDUs) have provided insight into how the structures of interpersonal relationships among IDUs affect HIV risk behaviors, the majority of these studies have been cross-sectional. The present study examined the dynamics of IDUs' social networks and HIV risk behaviors over time.
Using data from a longitudinal HIV-intervention study conducted in Baltimore, MD, this study assessed changes in the composition of the personal networks of 409 IDUs. We used a multi-nomial logistic regression analysis to assess the association between changes in network composition and simultaneous changes in levels of injection HIV risk behaviors. Using the regression parameters generated by the multi-nomial model, we estimated the predicted probability of being in each of four HIV risk behavior change groups.
Compared to the base case, individuals who reported an entirely new set of drug-using network contacts at follow-up were more than three times as likely to be in the increasing risk group. In contrast, reporting all new non-drug-using contacts at follow-up increased the likelihood of being in the stable low-risk group by almost 50% and decreased the probability of being in the consistently high-risk group by more than 70%.
The findings from this study show that, over and above IDUs' baseline characteristics, changes in their personal networks are associated with changes in individuals' risky injection behaviors. They also suggest that interventions aimed at reducing HIV risk among IDUs might benefit from increasing IDUs' social contacts with individuals who are not drug users.

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    ABSTRACT: Background It is increasingly recognized that the risk for HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID), such as syringe sharing, occurs in the context of relationships between (at least) two people. Evidence suggests that the risk associated with injection behavior varies with injection partner types. Methods We utilized longitudinal dyad-level data from a study of young PWID from San Francisco (2006 to 2013) to investigate the relationship-level factors influencing high-risk injecting within HCV-serodiscordant injection partners (i.e., individuals who injected together ≥5 times in the prior month). Utilizing data from 70 HCV-serodiscordant injection partnerships, we used generalized linear models to examine relationship-level predictors (i.e., partnership composition, partnership closeness, and partnership dynamics) of: (1) receptive syringe sharing (RSS); and (2) receptive cooker use (RCU), as reported by the HCV-negative injection partner. Results As reported by the “at-risk” HCV-negative injection partner, receptive syringe sharing (RSS) and receptive cooker use (RCU) were 19% and 33% at enrollment, and 11% and 12% over all visits (total follow-up time 55 person-years) resulting in 13 new HCV-infections (incidence rate: 23.8/100 person-years). Person-level factors, injection partnership composition, and partnership dynamics were not significantly associated with either RSS or RCU. Instead, intimate injection partnerships (those who lived together and were also in a sexual relationship) were independently associated with a 5-times greater risk of both RSS and a 7-times greater risk of RCU when compared to injecting only partnerships. Conclusion Our findings suggest a positive, and amplified effect of relationship factors on injecting drug risk behaviors among young PWID injection partnerships. The majority of interventions to reduce injection drug use related harms focus on individual-based education to increase drug use knowledge. Our findings support the need to expand harm reduction strategies to relationship-based messaging and interventions.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e109282. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0109282 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological data in Vietnam shows high HIV prevalence rates among injection drug users, especially in urban centres. However, there are limited data on specific practices used to prepare and inject drugs or on sexual practices among Vietnamese injectors. A street-based cross-sectional interview was conducted with 862 heroin injectors in Hanoi, Vietnam, to collect such data. Variability was seen in both injection and sexual risk, with 12.9% of current injectors reporting at least one unsafe method of drug sharing and 57.1% reporting unsafe sex in the past 30 days. These risks were strongly associated with those who engaged in unsafe injection significantly more likely to engage in unsafe sex (69.4% vs. 55.3%) and those engaging in unsafe sex significantly more likely to engage in unsafe injection (15.7% vs. 9.2%). These findings highlight the overlap of injection and sexual risk practices among Vietnamese heroin users and suggest the need for strong, broadly targeted HIV prevention activities among this population.
    Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy 11/2014; DOI:10.3109/09687637.2014.979765 · 0.53 Impact Factor

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