Initiators: an examination of young injecting drug users who initiate others to injecting

AIDS Behav. 2008 Nov;12(6):885-90. doi: 10.1007/s10461-007-9347-z. Epub 2007 Dec 21.


Research about initiation to injecting drugs emphasises the role that relationships with others plays in the experience, suggesting investigations of initiation should include an examination of both initiates and initiators. This paper uses cross-sectional data collected from 324 young, early-career injecting drug users (IDU) to describe the socio-demographic characteristics, drug and injecting practices, and harm reduction knowledge and practices of people who report initiating others to injecting. Fifty-five participants (17%) reported giving someone else their first injection. They reported initiating a total of 128 other people within the first 5 years of their own injecting. Compared to non-initiators, initiators were more likely to pass on harm reduction information [odds ratios (OR): 2.36, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.26-4.40]. However, the quality of this information was unknown and initiators did not have more accurate knowledge of blood borne viruses (BBV) than non-initiators, and commonly obtained needles and syringes from sources where the sterility of the equipment could not be guaranteed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Female
  • Harm Reduction
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needles
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syringes
  • Viremia / prevention & control
  • Viremia / transmission
  • Young Adult