There is a high risk of HIV spreading rapidly among injecting drug users (IDUs), a study conducted by the School of Public Health of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has found. The study found that about half of the drug users interviewed for the study confirmed that they had been sharing injecting needles.
The study was published in latest issue of Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development. Under the study carried out among adult IDUs identified for targeted interventions by UT's State Aids Control Society, a total of 115 IDUs were selected; however, data could be collected only from 92. All IDUs were males. They were interviewed by the researchers for data collection.
The study noticed that there was rise in HIV positive cases among the IDUs in Chandigarh. About half of the respondents (49%) had shared injecting needles in the past. But 17.4% had done so during the last month. A total 53% percent of IDUs had physical relations with
female sex workers (FSWs), and 12% had sex with another man.
The study also found that physical relations with non-regular partner was significantly higher (87.5%) among those who shared injecting needles. The study observed that IDUs had not only unsafe injecting practices but their sexual practices were also mostly unsafe. Therefore, HIV prevention programmes should also emphasise safe sexual behaviours, along with safe injection practices.
49% shared injecting needles
53% having physical relations with female sex workers
12% had sex with another man
27.3% had never used a condom