HIV prevalence remains low among Calgary's needle exchange program participants.
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OBJECTIVES: To determine the demographic characteristics, risk behaviours and prevalence of HIV-1 among injection drug users (IDU) attending Calgary's needle exchange program (NEP). METHODS: A survey was conducted from June through September 1998 among IDU attending Calgary's NEP. Demographic and behaviour characteristics were determined by personal interview and saliva was tested for HIV antibody. RESULTS: There were 278 participants providing 272 saliva specimens. Nine were positive for HIV-1 (3.3%, 95% C.I. 1.6-6.4%). Sexual and injecting practices, cities where drugs had been used, incarceration, addiction treatment and demographic characteristics were described, and a subanalysis for women, youth and Aboriginals was carried out. CONCLUSIONS: HIV prevalence remains low among NEP attenders in Calgary, although high-risk behaviours are common. Women, youth and Aboriginals have unique risk behaviour profiles. Many IDU want to participate in addiction treatment, and strategies should be made to provide accessible, appropriate treatment services.
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