Safe syringe disposal is related to safe syringe access among HIV-positive injection drug users

Phillip O. Coffin, Mary H. Latka, Carl Latkin, Yingfeng Wu, David W. Purcell, Lisa Metsch, Cynthia Gomez, Marc N. Gourevitch, Amy Knowlton, Karin Tobin, Eduardo Valverde, James Wilkinson, Martina DeVarona, Mary Latka, Dave Vlahov, Marc Gourevitch, Julia Arnsten, Robert Gern, Kelly Knight, Carol Dawson RoseStarley Shade, Sonja Mackenzie, David Purcell, Yuko Mizuno, Scott Santibanez, Richard Garfein, Ann O'Leary, Lois Eldred, Kathleen Handley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluated the effect of syringe acquisition on syringe disposal among HIV-positive injection drug users (IDUs) in Baltimore, New York City, and San Francisco (N = 680; mean age 42 years, 62% male, 59% African-American, 21% Hispanic, 12% White). Independent predictors of safe disposal were acquiring syringes through a safe source and ever visiting a syringe exchange program. Weaker predictors included living in San Francisco, living in the area longer, less frequent binge drinking, injecting with an HIV+ partner, peer norms supporting safe injection, and self-empowerment. Independent predictors of safe "handling"-both acquiring and disposing of syringes safely-also included being from New York and being older. HIV-positive IDUs who obtain syringes from a safe source are more likely to safely dispose; peer norms contribute to both acquisition and disposal. Interventions to improve disposal should include expanding sites of safe syringe acquisition while enhancing disposal messages, alternatives, and convenience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-662
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Injection drug user
  • Syringe disposal
  • Syringe exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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