Online Program

Studying urban-suburban bridging groups and their social networks in metropolitan Chicago among persons who inject drugs

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Mary Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, PhD, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Basmattee Boodram, PhD, MPH, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Carl Latkin, Department of Epidemiology & Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Background: Young persons who inject drugs (PWID) are increasingly from suburban communities and predominantly non-Hispanic (NH) white. The impact of this demographic and geographic shift on HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) risk has not been adequately studied.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional personal network (egocentric) and geographic study of 164 young PWID (egos) and their drug-using, sexual, and support network members (alters) in metropolitan Chicago, Illinois. We recruited at Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP) syringe exchange program sites located in urban neighborhoods, using COIP’s Indigenous Leader Outreach Model where former drug users recruit active PWID.

Results: We enrolled 164 young PWID (median age=26) who were mostly male (65%), non-Hispanic white (71%) heroin (99%) injectors. Self-reported prevalence of HCV was 13% and HIV <1%. Most participants reported multiple residences in the past year. Compared to the participants, the overall drug use network was slightly older (mean=29.7) and similarly likely to be non-Hispanic white (69%). In multivariable models that controlled for demographic, risk behavior and network characteristics: (1) residing in both urban and suburban areas (crossover) was associated with syringe sharing; (2) homelessness was significantly associated with core network size, and (3) homelessness and HCV-positive status were associated with increasing number of HCV-positive persons in the core network.

Conclusions: We identified geographic mobility between suburban and urban locations as a significant risk factor associated with syringe sharing in a sample of young PWID. Further research is needed to understand the role of geographic factors promoting higher risk among these crossover PWID.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between service and research in the COIP model. Discuss the contributions of geographic mobility and homelessness to injection-related HIV and HCV risk.

Keyword(s): HIV Risk Behavior, Drug Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator or co-investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on HIV-related risk behavior among substance users. My research interests include individual and social factors that affect injection-related risk behavior among young heroin users. I have a PhD years of experience conducting research in the realm of HIV.
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.