Assisted injection and public injection have both been associated with a variety of individual harms including an increased risk of HIV infection. As a means of informing local IDU-driven interventions that target or seek to address assisted injection, we examined the correlates of receiving assistance with injecting in outdoor settings among a cohort of persons who inject drugs (IDU).
Using data from the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS), an observational cohort study of IDU, generalized estimating equations (GEE) were performed to examine socio-demographic and behavioural factors associated with reports of receiving assistance with injecting in outdoor settings.
From January 2004 to December 2005, a total of 620 participants were eligible for the present analysis. Our study included 251 (40.5%) women and 203 (32.7%) self-identified Aboriginal participants. The proportion of participants who reported assisted injection outdoors ranged over time between 8% and 15%. Assisted injection outdoors was independently and positively associated with being female (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 1.74, 95% Confidence Intervals (CI): 1.21-2.50), daily cocaine injection (AOR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.29-2.24), and sex trade involvement (AOR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.00-2.06) and was negatively associated with Aboriginal ethnicity (AOR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.41-0.82).
Our findings indicate that a substantial proportion of local IDU engage in assisted injecting in outdoor settings and that the practice is associated with other markers of drug-related harm, including being female, daily cocaine injecting and sex trade involvement. These findings suggest that novel interventions are needed to address the needs of this subpopulation of IDU.