Online Program

Hispanic Female Injection Drug Users: A Descriptive Analyses

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nancy Shehadeh, PhD, CHES, College of Business, Health Administration Department, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Jesus Sanchez, Ph.D., Sociobehavioral and Administrative Pharmacy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Muni Rubens, MBBS, MPH, PhD, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Terri Jennings, PhD, Social Science and Research Consulting, Social Science and Research Consulting, McKinleyville, CA
Background: About 16 million people around the world are injection drug users (IDUs), and approximately 13% of people infected with HIV are People Who Inject Drugs (PWID). Being Hispanic and female increases the risk of contracting HIV, as well as HCV and HBV, exponentially.

Methods: The data used for this study were drawn from a study of Hispanic injection drug users (IDUs) in South Florida (n=240). In this exploratory study, only females were drawn from the parent study (n=30).  Descriptive statistics and frequencies were used to examine patterns of drug use and sex risk in this sample.

Results: A majority of participants reported a diagnosis of HBV (66.7%) or HCV (83.3%) and 16.7% of subjects were HIV positive.  Risky injection drug use behaviors included always sharing needles to inject (16.7%) or sharing needles sometimes to inject (50%).  More than half of subjects (56.7%) reported never cleaning a shared syringe before injecting.  Ninety percent of subjects reported engaging in vaginal sex during the last three months with only 30% of subjects consistently using a male or female condom.  In addition, 63.3% of subjects reported engaging in sex for money, with 100% of those subjects reporting using the money for drugs.

Conclusion: Hispanic females who use drugs are at a heightened risk for HIV, HBV and HCV due to their risky lifestyle. This study illustrates how this marginalized subpopulation is in dire need of focused interventions that help reduce the risks of viral infections associated with IDU.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss a clearer understanding of the types of risky behaviors practiced by Hispanic female injection drug users. Identify the research and services needed to address the needs of this marginalized community.

Keyword(s): Drug Abuse, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in HIV risk research among migrant workers for about 6 years under the supervision of Dr. Virginia McCoy during my doctoral and postdoctoral studies. I have experience in analyzing HIV risk behaviors among marginalized populations in South Florida. I am qualified to analyze and report information on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.