Planning for injecting drug use as a means to prevent risky injection behavior

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objective: People who inject drugs (PWIDs) are at risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens. India has a large PWID population and the highest HIV transmission is among PWIDs. Interventions to prevent risky injection is constantly tested by the scientific community and innovations are required in this area. Methods: 3748 male PWIDs were recruited into a longitudinal study. 2509 PWIDs who participated in the end of study survey, also responded to multiple open ended questions asked by the interviewers. The qualitative interviews were analyzed focusing on identifying themes and relationship among themes. Results: 35.6% of the cohort had engaged in risky injection at least once. Although the project activities promoted safe injection practices among majority of the study participants; 35% is a substantial population at risk. Gaining knowledge about blood borne pathogen transmission, motivated participants to be careful about not sharing injection or paraphernalia. The belief that friends are safe made many share among themselves. Not prepared when the withdrawal set in was the main reason for sharing injection. Conclusion: The project intervention had stimulating effect on the PWIDs and they tried to stop injection and follow safe injection practices. However, a failure at least once is an exposure to blood borne pathogens. Hence teaching PWIDs to plan for their injection practice and keeping materials ready at hand is important.