High dead-space syringe use among people who inject drugs in Tijuana, Mexico

The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Claudia RaffulS A Strathdee


High dead-space syringes (HDSS) are believed to confer an elevated risk of acquiring HIV and other blood-borne infections. We identified prevalence and correlates of HDSS use among injection drug users (IDU) in Tijuana, Mexico, where syringe purchase and possession is legal without a prescription. Beginning in 2011, IDU who reported being 18 years or older and injected drugs within the last month were recruited into a prospective study. At baseline and semi-annually, 557 IDU underwent HIV-testing and interviewer-administered surveys. Logistic regression was used to identify correlates of using HDSS. Of 557 IDU, 40% had ever used HDSS, mostly because no other syringe type was available (72%), or because they were easier to get (20%). Controlling for sex and age at first injection, use of HDSS was associated with cocaine as the first drug injected (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 2.68; Confidence Interval 95% [CI]: 1.15-6.22), having been stopped or arrested by police (AOR: 1.84; 95% CI: 1.11-3.07), being deported from the US (AOR: 1.64; 95% CI:1.06-2.53), and believing it is illegal to carry syringes (AOR:1.78; 95% CI: 1.01-3.15). Use of HDSS is surprisingly common among IDU in Tijuana. Efforts are needed to expand coverage of low-de...Continue Reading


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