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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


FOLCH, Cinta  and  GRUPO REDAN et al. Characteristics of intravenous drug users who share injection equipment in Catalonia (Spain). Gac Sanit [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.1, pp.37-44. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of direct and indirect syringe sharing among intravenous drug users (IDUs) attending a harm reduction center in Catalonia (Spain) and to identify factors associated with risk behaviors. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between 2008 and 2009 in harm reduction centers. Behavioral data were collected using anonymous questionnaires administered by trained interviewers. Results: Of the 748 respondents, 31.5% had shared syringes at least once in the previous 6 months and 55.2% reported sharing injection paraphernalia (spoons, water, filters). A higher risk of syringe sharing was found among IDUs who injected daily (OR=1.5), injected cocaine (OR=1.6), had less than half their supply of syringes from a free source (OR=2.5), had an IDU sexual partner (OR=1.8) or who reported indirect sharing (OR=4.1). A higher risk of indirect sharing was found in respondents who had an illegal source of income (OR=1.5), injected daily (OR=1, 5), injected cocaine (OR=1.4), reported sharing syringes (OR=3.9), or who reported a previous overdose (OR=1.5). Conclusions: Despite the widespread use of harm reduction programs in Catalonia, a significant proportion of IDUs continue to practise injection-related risk behaviors. Further reductions in risk behaviors could be achieved by improving access to all sterile injecting equipment, especially among cocaine injectors and IDUs who inject frequently, and by including IDU sexual partners within the current network of harm reduction centers.

Keywords : Drug injection; Risk behaviors; HIV; Hepatitis C virus; Harm reduction centers.

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