Home > Needle exchange in the Eastern Health Board region: an analysis of first time attendees, 1990-1997.

Mullen, Louise and Barry, Joseph (1999) Needle exchange in the Eastern Health Board region: an analysis of first time attendees, 1990-1997. Dublin: Eastern Health Board.

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Despite some behaviour change a substantial number of injectors continue to share injecting equipment and engage in risky sexual practices. This study analyses data from the years 1990-1997.

The number of injecting drug users who attended the Eastern Health Board needle exchange programme increased from 1990-1997, with a recent increase in the proportion of female attenders. The number of young injectors is increasing, and a large proportion of attenders are under twenty years of age. Almost one third of users have a very short duration of injecting, less than one year. Decreases in high risk behaviour at first attendance are seen over the time period. Attenders who have been injecting less than one year have less needle sharing than those injecting longer.

The high risk behaviours of needle sharing and not using condoms are significantly related to one another. Female injectors have a significantly higher proportion of needle sharing than their male counterparts. The young injectors age group show an increase in numbers of attenders over the time period. Young males have decreased in number from a peak in 1995 whereas numbers of young females have steadily increased. Half of young injectors have been injecting less than one year. Very few of the young attenders have had any treatment; needle exchange may be the first contact with services for many. Young injectors are not significantly different in their proportion of needle sharing than injectors age twenty and over. Needle sharing is significantly lower in the recent onset injectors, especially those injecting less than one year. Young injectors are significantly more likely to use a condom during sexual encounters than the overall population of injectors, but young females are significantly less likely to have their partners use a condom during sexual encounters than young males. Young injectors with one partner are much less likely to use condoms during sex. High risk behaviours at first attendance show a decreasing trend and it appears that prevention messages are being heeded, though prevalence of high risk behaviour remains unacceptably high.

The needle exchange programme is effective at attracting high risk, female and young injecting drug users. In Dublin, injectors appear to be coming to needle exchange very soon after initiation of injecting. This is very important in terms of the potential for prevention and intervention.


Date:1999
Call No:JH10.6.2, VH4.2 DUB,
Pages:27 p.
Publisher:Eastern Health Board
Place of Publication:Dublin
Keywords:Eastern Health Board, intravenous drug user, intravenous injection, needle distribution and exchange, needle sharing, sexual behavior, sexual relations
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB 1490 (Available)
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health related prevention > Health information and education > Communicable disease control > Needle distribution and exchange
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Kildare
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Wicklow
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health related prevention > Health information and education > Communicable disease control > Safe sex
G Health and disease > Etiology > Disease transmission factor > Needle sharing

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