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Needle sharing among southern Thai drug injectors

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To examine factors associated with needle sharing among injecting drug users (IDU) in southern Thailand. Design 

Using a cross-sectional survey, 272 active IDU were interviewed about their socio-economic background, needle sharing and drug use patterns at six drug-treatment clinics in southern Thailand. Findings 

Ninety-one per cent of IDU gave a past history of ever sharing injecting equipment: of these, 23% currently injected but did not share and 68% still shared. Only 5% of participants knew that bleaching needles could reduce HIV transmission risks. Recent needle sharing was correlated with number of IDU friends (OR 12.23; CI, 5.24–28.51), engaging in illegal jobs (OR 2.74; CI, 1.13–6.67), being unable to use new needles at all times (OR 2.89; CI, 1.17–7.14) and believing that cleaning contaminated shared needles with at least plain water could reduce HIV transmission (OR 3.32; CI, 1.16–6.68). Conclusions 

Our data suggest that AIDS prevention efforts should focus on approaches to reduce needle sharing. Needle exchange programs, HIV counseling and testing and bleach distribution may reduce levels of needle-sharing risks.
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Keywords: HIV risk; injecting drug users (IDU); needle sharing; southern Thailand

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Health Policy and Management 2: and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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