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J Subst Abuse. 2001;13(1-2):45-58.

Risk factors of HIV infection and needle sharing among injecting drug users in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Faculty of Public Health, Head of Epidemiology Department, Hanoi Medical University, 1 Ton that Tung, Dong da, Hanoi, Vietnam.



We sought to identify risk factors for needle sharing and HIV infection among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam.


Three cross-sectional surveys among IDUs, both on the street (in 11 urban districts) and in the rehabilitation center for IDUs in HCMC, were carried out in April of 1995, 1997, and 1998. Outreach workers interviewed IDUs about socio-demographic characteristics, drug use and sexual practices, and HIV knowledge and perceptions. The IDUs were also tested for seropositivity to HIV. Independent predictors for HIV positivity and needle sharing were determined by univariate and multivariate logistic regression for the study sample within the rehabilitation center in 1997 and for that on the street in 1998.


The HIV prevalence in 1998 among IDUs was 44% for those on the street and 38.5% for those in the rehabilitation center. Independent predictors for HIV infection in IDUs were being injected by drug dealers (for the 1997 sample), injecting on the street, and sharing the drug pots (for the 1998 sample). The reported rate of needle sharing was low and decreased significantly from 20% in 1995 to 12% in 1998 for the sample of IDUs at the street. In the multivariate analysis, predictors for needle sharing for both study samples were injecting on the street, injecting at shooting galleries, and having shared needles in the past. Adequate and easy access to sterile needles and syringes, and a supportive environment of behavior change, especially in street and shooting gallery could reduce risks of virus transmission in the Vietnamese IDU community.

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