Risk factors for HIV infection among drug injectors in southern Thailand

Pajongsil Perngmark, David D. Celentano, Surinda Kawichai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: To determine HIV sero-prevalence and risk factors for HIV infection among injecting drug users (IDU) in southern Thailand. Methods: Using a cross-sectional HIV sero-prevalence and behavioral survey, 272 active IDU were interviewed about background, life-style, drug use patterns, and sexual behaviors at six drug-treatment clinics in southern Thailand. Results: Ninety-one percent reported lifetime needle sharing; 96% had tried HIV risk-reduction by either stopping/decreasing visits to sex workers and/or stopping/decreasing needle sharing. Only 5% knew that bleaching needles could reduce transmission risks. Overall, 51% tested HIV-positive (43% ethnic Thai vs. 64% ethnic Malay). HIV seropositivity among ethnic Thai was independently correlated with past history of needle sharing (OR 6.95; 1.89-25.58), injecting immediately at drug onset (OR 2.53; 1.25-5.13), and starting first injection at younger age (OR 2.61; 1.31-5.22). Injecting immediately at drug onset (OR 4.32; 1.23-15.14) and not carrying new needles (OR 4.47; 1.27-15.69) were risk factors among minority ethnic Malay. Conclusion: A high rate of HIV infection persists among southern-Thai IDU. HIV-infected individuals may act as a bridge of HIV transmission to their sex partners. AIDS prevention efforts should more intensely focus on minority ethnic Malays, discouraging needle sharing and increasing protected sex with regular sexual partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 10 2003


  • HIV infection
  • Risk factors
  • Southern Thai IDU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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