Association between injection in public places and HIV/HCV risk behavior among people who use drugs in Ukraine

Alyona Mazhnaya, Karin E. Tobin, Jill Owczarzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: In Eastern Europe and Central Asia new HIV infections occur at a high rate among people who inject drugs (PWID). Injection risk behavior may be associated with injecting in public places. However, there is a lack of studies exploring this association in Ukraine, which has an HIV prevalence 21–42% among PWID. Methods: Data came from a baseline survey of PWID recruited to participate in a behavioral HIV prevention intervention. The association between HIV/HCV injection risk behavior and place of injection (private vs. public) was assessed using multivariable Poisson regression with robust variance estimate. Results: Most of the sample was male (73%), > 30 years (56%), and reported opioids as their drug of choice (55%). One in six participants (15.8%, n = 57) reported using a syringe after somebody, and 70% (n = 253) reported injecting in public places within last 30-days. In the adjusted model, injection risk behavior was associated with injecting in public places (PrR: 4.24, 95% CI: 1.76–10.20), unstable housing situation (PrR: 2.46, 95% CI:1.26-4.83), higher than secondary education (PrR:1.82, 95%CI:1.04-3.16), injecting with a sex partner day (PrR:2.13, 95% CI:1.28-3.56), and injecting with a stranger (PrR: 1.47, 95% CI: 0.93–2.31). Conclusions: Injecting in a public place is associated with increased prevalence of risky behavior. Therefore, understanding and addressing place-based context should be part of the national strategy to fight HIV and HCV in Ukraine. National programs would benefit from expanding models to include contextual and structural determinants of health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • HIV/HCV risk
  • Injection place
  • PWID
  • Structural determinants
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between injection in public places and HIV/HCV risk behavior among people who use drugs in Ukraine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this