U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Difficulty Accessing Syringes and Syringe Borrowing Among Injection Drug Users in Bangkok, Thailand

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 29 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 157-161
Thomas Kerr; Nadia Fairbairn; Kanna Hayashi; Paisan Suwannawong; Karyn Kaplan; Ruth Zhang; Evan Wood
Date Published
March 2010
5 pages
This study examined the context of syringe sharing among Thai injection drug users.
Thailand's longstanding HIV epidemic among injection drug users (IDU) has been attributed, in part, to the Thai government's unwillingness to implement evidence-based HIV prevention interventions. This study was undertaken to examine risk factors for syringe borrowing among a community-recruited sample of Thai IDU. The study examined the prevalence of syringe borrowing among 238 IDU participating in the Mit Sampan Community Research Project, Bangkok. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of syringe borrowing in the past 6 months. A total of 238 IDU participated in this study; 66 (26.2 percent) were female, and the median age was 36.5 years. In total, 72 (30.3 percent) participants reported borrowing a used syringe in the past 6 months, with 47 (65.3 percent) of these individuals reporting multiple borrowing events. In multivariate analyses, syringe borrowing was positively associated with difficulty accessing syringes [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.46; 95 percent confidence interval (CI): 1.08-5.60] and injecting with other people on a frequent basis (AOR = 3.17; 95 percent CI: 1.73-5.83). Primary reasons offered for experiencing difficulty accessing syringes included being too far from syringe outlets (34.1 percent), pharmacies being closed (13.6 percent) and being refused syringes at pharmacies (9.1 percent). The authors observed an alarmingly high rate of syringe borrowing among a community-recruited sample of Thai IDU. Various lines of evidence indicate that poor access to sterile syringes is driving the high rate of syringe borrowing observed in this study. Immediate action should be taken to increase access to sterile syringes among Thai IDU. Tables and references (Published Abstract)