Factors associated with recent symptoms of an injection site infection or injury among people who inject drugs in three English cities

V D Hope, M Hickman, J V Parry, F Ncube
International Journal on Drug Policy 2014, 25 (2): 303-7

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at risk of injection site infections and injuries. The factors associated with recent symptoms of these problems are examined.

METHOD: PWID recruited using respondent driven sampling, underwent a computer-assisted interview and provided a dried-blood spot sample. Weight data were examined using logistic regression.

RESULTS: The mean age of the 855 participants was 32 years, and 25% were women. During the preceding 28 days, 94% had injected heroin and 50% crack-cocaine; with 41% injecting into their arms and 47% their groin. The passing on of used needles/syringes was reported by 9.7% and receiving by 8.0%. During the preceding 28 days, 21% reported having redness, swelling and tenderness, 6.1% an abscess, and 5.2% a sore/open wound at an injection site; with a quarter (24%) reporting one or more of these. A range of factors were associated with these symptoms; all three symptoms were associated with more frequent injection and the use of multiple injection sites; two of the symptoms were also associated with having recently overdosed and the use of particular injection sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Injection site infections and injuries are common among PWID and targeted interventions are needed to reduce risk.

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