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Younger Injectors testing for HIV through a publicly funded program in Los Angeles County, California

Grace L. Reynolds, DPA(c), Dennis G. Fisher, PhD, and Catherine M. Branson, BA. Center for Behavioral Research & Services, California State University, Long Beach, 1090 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813, 562-495-2330, greynol2@csulb.edu

Background: Young injection drug users (IDUs) are at risk for HIV and hepatitis through inexperience with safe injection practices and risky sexual behaviors. Methods: Data from a publicly funded mobile HIV testing program operating in Los Angeles County were analyzed to identify differences between older and younger injection drug users. Results: IDUs under the age of 30 who injected cocaine, heroin, and/or amphetamine, were identified from 47 testing sites. The majority was male and White non-Hispanic. Young injectors were significantly more likely to report White race ( c2(5) = 75.53, p = <.0001. There were no significant differences between the younger and older injectors on cleaning injection equipment (c2(2) = 4.14, p = NS), or use of needle exchange services c2(2) = 4.19, p = NS. There was a significant difference on sharing of injection equipment (c2(2) = 7.41, p = .02) with younger injectors being more likely to report that they always shared needles. There were significant age differences in the reporting of sexually transmitted diseases, with individuals reporting hepatitis B infection being significantly older (M = 42.51, SD = 10.54) than those who did not report hepatitis B infection (M = 38.41, SD = 9.99, t(797) = 2.87, p = .0042. Those reporting hepatitis C infection were significantly older (M = 42.24, SD = 8.8) than those not reporting hepatitis C infection (M = 37.38, SD = 10.07, t(777) = 6.21, p < .0001). Conclusions: Testing sites serving young IDUs should have interventions targeted to them for prevention of HIV and other blood-borne infections.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Injection Drug Use and Youth Poster Session

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA