Prevalence and related factors of needle-sharing behavior among female prisoners

Tony Szu Hsien Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of and factors related to needle-sharing behavior among intravenous heroin users in female prisons in Taiwan. Methods: Study participants (n=438) were recruited from 3 female prisons in 2002. Participants were told the goals and objectives of the study, and were then asked to indicate their willingness to participate by signing consent forms. A self-administered questionnaire included three parts: personal characteristics, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and drug-related behaviors. Results: A large percentage of subjects had knowledge about modes of HIV transmission. Of 438 female heroin offenders, 40 reported that they had never injected heroin. Of 398 intravenous heroin users, 75.1% had shared needles, 54.8% had shared needles within the last month before incarceration, and 27.1% reported that they had shared a needle during their most recent heroin use. Participants who were of a younger age at the time of their first heroin use were much more likely to have shared needles. Marital status and being tested for HIV were significant predictors of sharing a needle during their most recent heroin use. Conclusions: There is a gap between knowledge of the risk of needle sharing and the needle-sharing behavior reported by study subjects. Hence, effective HIV prevention programs must identify strategies for reducing needle-sharing behavior among female intravenous heroin users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-31
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS knowledge
  • Female offender
  • Intravenous heroin use
  • Needle sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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