Prevalence and predictors of injection drug use among Malaysian fishermen: implications for HIV prevention

MOPE235 – Poster Exhibition

 

Prevalence and predictors of injection drug use among Malaysian fishermen: implications for HIV prevention

M. Choo1, A. Kamarulzaman1, N. El-Bassel2, A. Smolak2, L. Gilbert2, E. Wu2, B.S. West3

1University of Malaya, Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2Columbia University School of Social Work, Social Intervention Group (SIG), New York, United States, 3Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, United States

Background: While previous studies have shown that fishermen tend to engage in risky sexual behaviors and have higher rates of HIV and other STIs, they have not identified drug risk behaviors as a possible transmission route. This study reports on prevalence and predictors of injection drug use (IDU) from a cohort of fishermen in Kuantan, Malaysia.

 

Methods: Participants were recruited using respondent driven sampling (RDS) in Kuantan, a major fishing town on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia between May and December 2011. The survey was self-administered on computer and blood was taken for bio-specimen testing following pre-test counseling. A generalized linear model (GLM) with a logit link was used to assess predictors of IDU.

 

Results: A total of 406 fishermen participated in the study. Their mean age was 37 (SD=12.34) years, and the majority were Malay (n=401, 99%). Of the total sample, 255 (62.8%) were involved in extended fishing trips at sea, defined as 3 or more days per trip. 32.8% (n=133) respondents reported injection drug use in the last 3 months. The most common drugs used were heroin (88.4%), Buprenorphine (79.2%), and “Pil Kuda” – an amphetamine type stimulant (78.3%). Sixty-three (41.4%) IDU reported polydrug use. Seven participants (1.7%) reported sharing needles the last time they injected. Forty (26.3%) IDU tested positive for HIV. Statistically significant predictors of injection drug use included age (OR: 4.31; p=0.008), marital status (OR: 0.42; p=0.002), duration spent at sea on fishing trips (OR: 0.26; p=0.024), and vessel license type (OR: 0.13; p< 0.001).

 

Conclusions: Injection drug use is common among fishermen in Kuantan, and inherent in their occupational structure. An integrated strategy of biomedical, behavioral and structural prevention interventions is needed to reduce the HIV epidemic and transmission risks among fishermen.

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Posted on July 23, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Prevalence and predictors of injection drug use among Malaysian fishermen: implications for HIV prevention.

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