The association between law enforcement encounters and syringe sharing among IDUs on skid row: a mixed methods analysis.

TitleThe association between law enforcement encounters and syringe sharing among IDUs on skid row: a mixed methods analysis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWagner KD, Simon-Freeman R, Bluthenthal RN
JournalAIDS and behavior
Volume17
Issue8
Pagination2637-43
Date Published2013 Oct
Abstract

The legal environment is one factor that influences injection drug users' (IDUs) risk for HIV and other bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis C virus (HCV). We examined the association between law enforcement encounters (i.e., arrests and citations) and receptive syringe sharing among IDUs in the context of an intensified policing effort. We conducted a mixed methods analysis of 30 qualitative and 187 quantitative interviews with IDUs accessing services at a Los Angeles, CA syringe exchange program from 2008 to 2009. Qualitative findings illustrate concerns related to visibility, drug withdrawal, and previous history of arrest/incarceration. In quantitative analysis, the number of citations received, current homelessness, and perceiving that being arrested would be a "big problem" were independently associated with recent syringe sharing. Findings illustrate some of the unintended public health consequences associated with intensified street-level policing, including risk for HIV and HCV transmission.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0062087
Alternate JournalAIDS Behav