Comparing Injecting Risk Behaviors of Long-Term Injectors with New Injectors in Tehran, Iran
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Background: Global estimates suggest there are 15.6 million people who inject drugs (PWID) of whom 17.8% are living with HIV.Few studies have characterized newly-onset injectors with long-term injectors and its association with injecting risk behaviors. Objectives: We examined the relationship between length of injection and risk behaviors among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Tehran, Iran. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among PWID, from March to August 2016 in Tehran, Iran. PWID were recruited by convenience and snowball sampling from five Drop-in Centers (DIC) located in the south of Tehran. Our primary independent variable was length of injecting career, defined as the number of months since injecting initiation. Those defined as new injectors (were injecting for less than 18 months), and long-term injectors (as injecting drugs for more than 18 months). We reported the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) point estimate and 95% confidence interval (CI95%) as the effect measure. The level of significance used in multiple logistic regression model was 0.05. We used STATA v. 11 for all analyzes. Results: The analytical sample comprised of 500 participants (100% male). Mean (±SD) age of PWID with a length of injection history was 31.2 ± 7.2 years. Overall, 270 (54%) (CI95%: 49.6%, 58.4%) of participants were long-term injectors. The average age of drug use initiation among long-term injectors group was lower as compared to new injectors group (31.2 vs. 29.4, p < 0.001). The odds of distributive syringe sharing among new injectors were two times higher than long-term injectors (AOR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–4.7). The odds of receptive syringe sharing were lower among new injectors group (AOR = 0.7, CI95% 0.2–0.87), compared to long-term injectors. New injectors had higher odds of reusing their own syringes (OR = 2.8, 95% CI: 1.4–5.7; p = 0.01). Conclusions: Improvements in harm reduction service provision can occur through taregted risk reduction education for new injectors focusing on reducing distributive syringe sharing among them.
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