Age at first injection and HIV risk among intravenous drug users

Robert J. Battjes, Carl G. Leukefeld, Roy W. Pickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT The relationship of age at first injection and HIV risk was explored in a nonblinded HIV seroprevalence study of intravenous drug users (IVDUs) admitted to methadone treatment in seven United States cities between February 1987 and June 1989. Comparisons were made of IVDUs who began injecting as adolescents, young adults, and adults in terms of drug use and sexual HIV risk behaviors and HIV serostatus. Early injectors consistently reported higher levels of drug-using risk behaviors (e.g., frequency of injection, frequency of needle sharing, and use of shooting galleries), and were more likely to be HIV seropositive. Among females, early injectors were also more likely to report sexual risk behaviors (e.g., multiple sex partners, prostitution). The relationship of age at first injection with selected risk behaviors and HIV serostatus was independent of subjects' age at interview, gender, and race/ethnicity. This study suggests that adolescent injectors are an important target group for HIV prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Baltimore, Maryland. Participating drug abuse treatment programs included Jersey Shore Addiction Services, Asbury Park, New Jersey; Cherry Hill Drug Abuse Rehabilitation, Baltimore, Maryland; Glenwood Life Center, Baltimore, Maryland; Interventions, Chicago, Illinois; Pacific Avenue Substance Abuse Services, Glendale, California; Jeff Grand Medical Group, Los Angeles, California; Community Health Projects, West Covina, California; Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation, New York, New York; Bexar County Mental Health-Mental Retardation, San Antonio, Texas; J. T. Payte, M.D., P.A., San Antonio, Texas; and New Horizons, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey. This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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