An exploratory study of sharing injecting equipment and HIV infection among female heroin users

Hsing Fei Lu, Tony Szu Hsien Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the association of sharing injecting equipment and HIV transmission among female heroin users. Method: A total of 15 female heroin users were interviewed face-to-face with their consent. Audio transcripts were translated verbatim and content analysis was used to retrieve themes. Results: Participants indicated that they had no idea that sharing rinse water may cause HIV transmission, and hence they had all previously shared water. Most participants shared needles with sexual partners, friends, and other drug users. They usually shared needles because of their craving for drugs and because no clean needle was available. Participants were categorized based on their cognition of sharing needles: no risk awareness (13.3%), awareness of risk but no preventive behavior (66.7%), and awareness with preventive behavior (20%). Eight participants (53.3%) tested HIV positive, five self-reported that they were infected through needle sharing and three through sharing rinse water. Conclusions: There exists a gap among study participants between their knowledge regarding sharing rinse water, needles, and sexual partners and actual risk of their behaviors. This gap puts female heroin users in our study at elevated risk of contracting HIV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Apr


  • Female
  • Heroin user
  • HIV infection
  • Needle sharing
  • Sharing of rinse water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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