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Am J Public Health. 2010 Jun;100(6):1068-74. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.158337. Epub 2010 Apr 15.

Race and distance effects on regular syringe exchange program use and injection risks: a geobehavioral analysis.

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  • 1University of Illinois School of Public Health, 1603 West Taylor St, M/C 923, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



We conducted "geobehavioral" analyses by race to understand how distances among injection drug users' (IDUs') residences, drug purchase and use locations, and syringe exchange programs (SEPs) are associated with injection behaviors.


Data were from the HIV Prevention Trial Network 037 (2002-2006) site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a randomized study evaluating the efficacy of a network-oriented HIV prevention intervention for IDUs. At prescreening, participants were asked the nearest intersections to their residence, where they buy and use drugs, and about their injection behaviors.


Geographic distances had independent and interactive effects on injection risk behaviors and SEP use. Blacks, regardless of distance, were less likely than Whites to inject in public places (odds ratio [OR] = 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.43, 0.90), to use syringes after someone else (OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.19, 0.38), and to access syringes from SEPs (OR = 2.08; 95% CI = 1.48, 2.92). Latinos' injection behaviors were more distance-dependent than Blacks' or Whites'.


Distances among IDUs' homes, drug purchase and injecting sites, and prevention resources affected safe injection practices differentially by race. Understanding individuals' geographic relation to the risks and resources that surround them is an important aspect of understanding effects of the environment on health and behavior and the development of targeted interventions.

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