HIV risk behaviour among injecting drug users in Perth: the Australian National AIDS and Injecting Drug Use Study
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Objective: This study was carried out in 1989 to examine behaviour involving risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)infections and to measure the prevalence of HIV antibodies in a sample of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Perth.Design: The study was a cross-sectional survey with a sample of convenience of 196 IDUs drawn from a drug treatment (54%) and non-treatment(46%)populations.Results: Sixty-five per cent of the sample were men and 35% women. Subjects were predominently heterosexual, were in their late twenties, had not completed secondary school, and were on sickness, unemployment or pension benefits. The majority were poly-drug users, but heroin and amphetamines were the only drugs that had been injected by more than 20% of the sample more than once a month. Respondents reported injecting an average of 43.6 (SD 83.6) times a month and using 33.7 (SD 55.4)new needles a month. The majority (70%) had injected within weeks of the interview. Sixty-seven per cent had shared needles within months. Respondents claimed to pass on used needles more frequently than to accept them, and were most likely to share with close friends or lovers when clean needles were unavailable and/or when they were withdrawing. While most respondents cleaned used needles, few used bleach all or most of the time. Most (78%) respondents had been tested for HIV seropositivity at least once. Most had multiple sexual partners and 92.3% had engaged in at least one unsafe sexual practice during the previous six months.Sixty-four per cent had changed some aspect of drug-using, and 38% some aspect of sexual behaviour since hearing about the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV seroprevalence for the 179 respondents who were tested was 2.2%, but this figure should not be taken as an estimate of seroprevalence for the Perth IDU population.Conclusion: Respondents' behaviour placed them at a high level of risk for HIV infection. Based on reported behaviour, it is recommended that eduction for IDUs in Perth should emphasise, among other things:not passing on used needles; cleaning used needles and syringes with bleach; planning ahead so that sterile equipment is available; and further risk reduction, particularly the adoption of safer sexual practices.
Loxley, W. et al.HIV risk behaviour among injecting drug users in Perth: the Australian National AIDS and Injecting Drug Use Study MJA; 156: 687-692. Copyright 1992. The Medical Journal of Australia - reproduced with permission
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Loxley, Wendy; Hawks, D. (1994)This research was carried out in 1990 to examine high-risk injecting and sexual behaviour in a sample of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Perth. The study was a cross-sectional survey with a convenience sample drawn from ...
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