Using a jail-based survey to monitor HIV and risk behaviors among Seattle area injection drug users

H. Thiede, M. Romero, K. Bordelon, H. Hagan, C. Murrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Routine monitoring of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and risk behaviors among injection drug users (IDUs) is difficult outside drug treatment settings. We developed and implemented a survey of recently arrested IDUs to describe the prevalence of HIV, drug use, and sexual behaviors among them. A probability sampling survey was instituted in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle, Washington; to sample recently arrested IDUs at the time of booking and in the jail health clinic between 1998 and 1999. Following HIV risk assessment and blood draw, additional information on drug use practices was gathered using a standardized questionnaire. Potential participants who were released from jail early could complete the study at a nearby research storefront office. Of the 4,344 persons intercepted at booking, 503 (12%) reported injection drug use, and 201 of the IDUs (40%) participated in the study. An additional 161 IDUs were enrolled in the study from the jail health clinic. Among the 348 unduplicated subjects, HIV prevalence was 2%; in the past 6 months, 69% reported two or more shooting partners, 72% used a cooker after someone else, 60% shared a syringe to divide up drugs, and 62% injected with used needles. Only 37% reported being hepatitis C seropositive, and 8% reported hepatitis B vaccination. It was feasible to conduct a jail-based survey of recently arrested IDUs that yielded useful information. The high prevalence of reported risky drug use practices warrants ongoing monitoring and illustrates the need for improving prevention programs for HIV and hepatitis B and C in this population, including expansion of hepatitis C screening and provision of hepatitis B vaccination at the jail health clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-278
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Correctional Facility
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B and C Prevention
  • Injection Drug Users
  • Risk Behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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