UBC Faculty Research and Publications

High prevalence of assisted injection among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting Cheng, Tessa; Kerr, Thomas; Small, Will; Dong, Huiru; Montaner, Julio; Wood, Evan; DeBeck, Kora


Many people who inject illicit drugs receive manual assistance when injecting, and this practice has been linked to increased risk of HIV infection and other harms. Little is known, however, about this practice among youth. This study uses a multivariate generalized estimating equation to identify factors associated with receiving assistance with injecting among a cohort of streetinvolved youth aged 14–26 in Vancouver, Canada. A total of 253 participants reported injecting drugs during the study period, and 49% (n = 125) of these youth reported receiving assistance with injecting in the past six months. In multivariate analysis, younger age, female gender, binge drug use, heroin injecting, cocaine injecting, crystal methamphetamine injecting, and syringe sharing were positively and independently associated with assisted injection (all p < 0.05). These findings underscore the need for expanding substance abuse treatment alongside HIV prevention and health promotion interventions to empower youth to enact safer injection practices.

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