Injection drug users' practices and attitudes toward intervention and potential for reducing the transmission of HIV

Clyde B. McCoy, Lisa R. Metsch, J. Bryan Page, Duane C. McBride, Samuel T. Comerford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Miami is one of the major centers of illegal drug activity and has a significant proportion of AIDS cases among injection drug users (IDUs). Since Needle Exchange Programs (NEP) are illegal and therefore do not exist in the state of Florida, other strategies must play a large role in reducing the transmission of HFV among IDUs. In order to effectively communicate with IDUs about needle safety, it is necessary to understand the practices and culture of IDUs, including where and how the needle/syringes are obtained and used. Data from recent studies conducted hi Miami and other local sites indicate that IDUs inject frequently, averaging more than 1,000 per year, per person. While the vast majority of IDUs feel it is very important to clean needles and to use a needle only one time, these sentiments are not always practiced. Furthermore, data indicate that the context where shooting takes place must be considered in the planning of HIV risk reduction interventions. These findings suggest the importance of understanding patterns of drug use, attitudes toward intervention, and the cultural context where risky behaviors occur. Although Needle Exchange Programs are illegal in Florida, intervention programs must still stress the importance of using only new needles, but since new needles cannot always be obtained, IDUs should be taught and motivated not to use contaminated drug paraphernalia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-60
Number of pages26
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Hiv prevention
  • Injecting practices
  • Injection drug user
  • Needle excliange
  • Shooting gallery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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