Factors associated with needle sharing among Black male injection drug users in Harris County, Texas

Jordan Richardson Cahoon, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Injection drug users (IDUs) are at increased risk for HIV transmission due to unique risk behaviors, such as sharing needles. In Houston, IDUs account for 18% of all HIV/AIDS cases among Black males. Objectives. This analysis compared demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial characteristics of needle sharing and non-sharing IDUs in a population of Black males in Harris County, Texas. Methods. Data used for this analysis were from the second IDU cycle of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System. This dataset included a sample of 288 Black male IDUs. Univariate and multivariate statistical analysis were performed to determine statistically significant associations of needle sharing in this population and to create a functional model to inform local HIV prevention programs. Results. Half of the participants in this analysis shared needles in the past 12 months. Compared to non-sharers, sharers were more likely to be homeless (OR=3.70, p<0.01) or arrested in the past year (OR=2.31, p<0.01), inject cocaine (OR=2.07, p<0.01), report male-to-male sex in the past year (OR=6.97, p<0.01), and to exchange sex for money or drugs. Sharers were less likely than non-sharers to graduate high school (OR=0.36, p<0.01), earn $5,000 or more a year (OR=1.15, p=0.05), get needles from a medical source (OR=0.59, p=0.03), and ever test for HIV (OR=0.17, p<0.01). Sharers were more likely to report depressive symptoms (OR=3.49, p<0.01), lower scores on the family support scale (mean difference 0.41, p=0.01) and decision-making confidence scale (mean difference 0.38, p<0.01), and greater risk-taking (mean difference -0.49, p<0.01) than non-sharers. In a multivariable logistic regression, sharers were less likely to have graduated high school (OR=0.33, p<0.01) and have been tested for HIV (OR=0.12, p<0.01) and were more likely to have been arrested in the past year (OR=2.3, p<0.01), get needles from a street source (OR=3.87, p<0.01), report male-to-male sex (OR=7.01, p<0.01), and have depressive symptoms (OR=2.36, p=0.02) and increased risk-taking (OR=1.78, p=0.01). Conclusions. IDUs that shared needles are different from those that did not, reporting lower socioeconomic status, increased sexual and risk behaviors, increased depressive symptoms and increased risk-taking. These findings suggest that intervention programs that also address these demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial factors may be more successful in decreasing needle sharing among this population.

Subject Area

Black studies|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Cahoon, Jordan Richardson, "Factors associated with needle sharing among Black male injection drug users in Harris County, Texas" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1479569.