Syringe Coverage in an Australian Setting: Does a High Level of Syringe Coverage Moderate Syringe Sharing Behaviour?
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We examined individual-level syringe coverage among 417 people who inject drugs who were recruited from pharmacies in New South Wales in 2009. There was a U-shaped distribution of syringe coverage with many people having very high (51%) or very low (23%) coverage. Overall, two-thirds of respondents (63%) reported adequate coverage (≥100%). Respondents who had not used a needle and syringe program in the previous month were more likely to report inadequate coverage (AOR 2.25, 95% CI 1.25–4.05) as were those who reported daily or more frequent injecting (AOR 3.69, 95% CI 2.00–6.81). Inadequate syringe coverage was not independently associated with receptive needle sharing. The level of syringe coverage was high among this sample, and met targets set out by UNAIDS and other organisations. We found that inadequate syringe coverage was not independently correlated with receptive needle sharing, possibly because coverage is sufficient to diminish the relationship between syringe availability and sharing behaviours.
KeywordsInjecting drug use Syringe coverage HIV Hepatitis C Australia
The authors are grateful to the staff at participating pharmacies for their time and care in facilitating the data collection, and to the survey respondents. Professor Carla Treloar provided comment on an earlier version of this paper. The Pharmacy Needle and Syringe Survey was funded by NSW Health. The National Centre in HIV Social Research is supported by a core grant from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aging.
Conflict of interest
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