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U.S. News

Injection Drug Users in South Florida Have Risky Behaviors, Study Says

April 13, 2009

A recent survey of injecting drug users (IDUs) from 23 US cities found that "a substantial proportion" engaged in both injection and sexual activities that put them and their partners at an increased risk of HIV infection, CDC reported Thursday. The study, which included IDUs from Broward and Miami-Dade counties, focused on 10,301 people and lasted from May 2005 to February 2006.

Among the IDUs, 31.8 percent reported sharing syringes, and 33.4 percent reported sharing injection equipment during the preceding 12 months. The study also found that 62.6 percent reported unprotected vaginal sex, with prevalence reaching 67.4 percent among those ages 18-24. Almost half (47.2 percent) had more than one opposite-sex partner during the preceding 12 months. The study authors recommend increasing IDUs' access to clean needles, condoms, and HIV screening.

"It's definitely troubling," said Marlene LaLota, HIV prevention director at the Florida Department of Health, a contributor to the study. "This group is really showing some high-risk behaviors. The problem has not gone away in [IDUs]. We still need to focus on them."

Florida IDU data are very similar to the national results, LaLota said. The state Department of Health plans to issue its own findings on IDUs and HIV later this year.

The full report, "HIV-Associated Behaviors Among Injecting-Drug Users -- 23 Cities, United States, May 2005-February 2006," was reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2009;58(13):329-332).

Back to other news for April 2009

Adapted from:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
04.10.2009; Bob Lamendola

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Ask Our Expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., About Substance Use and HIV
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