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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2000 May;26(2):263-81.

Needle sharing: a longitudinal study of female injection drug users.

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Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


The objective of this study was to examine the psychosocial risk and protective factors related to needle-sharing behavior among female intravenous drug users (IDUs) positive (N = 96) and negative (N = 128) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Participants in this longitudinal study were interviewed individually at two points in time, with a 6-month interval between interviews. The interviewers used a structured questionnaire, which included psychosocial measures and questions about drug and sexual risk behaviors. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlations and hierarchical regression analyses. The findings supported a developmental model in which the psychosocial domains and HIV status predicted T1 (initial) needle-sharing behavior, which in turn was related to T2 (follow-up) needle-sharing behavior. In addition, the relationship between personality and peer risk factors and T2 needle sharing was buffered by family-related protective factors. While HIV-positive status had a direct effect on T1 needle sharing with strangers, its effect was mediated by all of the psychosocial variables in its relation to T1 needle sharing with familiar people. Comparisons of these results were made with a companion study of male IDUs. The results suggest several intervention and treatment approaches that can be implemented at different points in the developmental pathways leading to risky needle-sharing practices among female IDUs.

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