Use of needles and syringes in Miami and Valencia: Observations of high and low availability

J. Bryan Page, Jose Salazar Fraile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Two studies engaged in gathering data on injecting drug users (IDUs) employed supplementary resources to enhance their ethnographic components and compare patterns of use of needles/syringes (n/s) in two geographically similar but culturally distinct cities. Despite its policy of making n/s highly available at fair prices, Valencia, Spain, has markedly higher rates of HIV seroprevalence among its IDUs than does Miami, Florida, where possession of n/s is illegal. Ethnographically based models that track IDUs through choices of injection venues help to explain this difference. Inability of IDUs in Valencia to use their own domiciles as venues for injection contrasts sharply with problems of Miami IDUs, who have access to houses but have difficulty finding n/s. This research suggests that intervention in Valencia needs to focus on how people select places where they inject, and intervention in Miami needs to focus on improving availability of n/s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-435
Number of pages23
JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Cross-site comparison
  • HIV
  • Injecting drug use
  • Needles/syringes
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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