Factors associated with needle exchange use in East Harlem, New York City

Stephanie Tortu, Sherry Deren, Mark Beardsley, Rahul Hamid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research reported in this paper focused on out-of-treatment injection drug users recruited from the streets of East Harlem, New York City. Drug use was verified by urinalysis and HIV testing was offered. The research compared self-reported users and non-users of needle exchange programs (NEPs) on sociodemographic variables, HIV-related risk behaviors, and selected health variables. Results indicated that being White and having been incarcerated were the sociodemographic variables most strongly associated with NEP use. Other findings include the following: (1) compared to other groups, Puerto Ricans were most likely to be non-users of NEPs ; (2) there were no significant differences between NEP users and non-users in reported injection risks, but NEP users reported significantly less unprotected sex; and (3) health data indicated that almost 50% of those tested were HIV infected and many had histories of sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-749
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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