Monday, December 28, 2015

Reduction in Needle Sharing among Seattle-Area Injection Drug Users Across 4 Surveys, 1994-2013

We evaluated time trends in sharing needles and other injection equipment from 1994 to 2013 among injection drug users in the Seattle, Washington, area.

We combined data from 4 sources: the Risk Activity Variables, Epidemiology, and Network (RAVEN) study, recruited from institutional settings; the Kiwi study, recruited from jails; National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system (NHBS) surveys, which used respondent-driven sampling; and surveys at needle-exchange sites.

Levels of needle sharing were higher in the earlier studies: RAVEN, 1994 to 1997 (43%) and Kiwi, 1998 to 2002 (61%). In the NHBS surveys, the initial level of 44% in 2005 declined to 31% in the period 2009 to 2012. Across needle-exchange surveys (2009-2013) the level was 21%. There was a parallel reduction in sharing other injection equipment. These trends persisted after control for sociodemographic and risk-associated variables. There was a contemporaneous increase in the number of needles distributed by local needle exchanges and a decline in the number of reported HIV cases among injection drug users.

The apparent long-term reduction in sharing injection equipment suggests substantial success in public health efforts to reduce the sharing of injection equipment.

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By:   Burt RD1Thiede H1.
  • 1The authors are with the HIV/STD Program, Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA. 

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