Background and aims: Syringe-sharing among people who inject drugs, which can occur during incarceration and post-release, has been linked with increased risk of blood-borne infections. We aimed to investigate the cumulative effect of repeated incarceration and the post-release period on receptive syringe-sharing.
Design: Ongoing community-based cohort, recruited through targeted sampling between 2011 and 2012 with 6-month follow-ups.
Setting: Tijuana, Mexico.
Participants: Sample of 185 participants (median age 35 years; 67% female) with no history of incarceration at study entry, followed to 2017.
Measurements: Cumulative incarceration and post-release period were constructed from incarceration events reported in the past 6 months for each study visit. Receptive syringe-sharing in the past 6 months was assessed as a binary variable. We used logistic regression with generalized estimating equations to examine the association between cumulative incarceration events and the post-release period with receptive syringe-sharing over time. Missing data were handled through multiple imputation.
Findings: At baseline, 65% of participants engaged in receptive syringe-sharing in the prior 6 months. At follow-up, 150 (81%) participants experienced a total of 358 incarceration events [median = 2, interquartile range (IQR) = 1-3]. The risk of receptive syringe-sharing increased with the number of repeated incarcerations. Compared with never incarcerated, those with one incarceration had 1.28 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.97-1.68] higher adjusted odds of syringe-sharing; two to three incarcerations, 1.42 (95% CI = 1.02-1.99) and more than three incarcerations, 2.10 (95% CI = 1.15-3.85). Participants released within the past 6 months had 1.53 (95% CI = 1.14-2.05) higher odds of sharing syringes compared with those never incarcerated. This post-release risk continued up to 1.5 years post-incarceration (adjusted odds ratio = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.04-1.91), but then waned.
Conclusions: A longitudinal community cohort study among people who inject drugs suggested that the effects of incarceration on increased injecting risk, measured through syringe-sharing, are cumulative and persist during the post-release period.
Keywords: Cumulative incarceration; PWID; Tijuana; longitudinal; multiple imputation; post-release; re-entry.
© 2021 Society for the Study of Addiction.