To examine associations between perceived ease of syringe access, syringe sources, injection behaviors, and law enforcement (LE) interactions among people who inject drugs (PWID) in rural Appalachian North Carolina (NC).
Using respondent-driven sampling, a diverse sample of 309 self-reported PWID were recruited from rural Appalachian NC. Data were collected via audio computer-assisted self-interview technology from February 2019 through March 2020. Respondents reported demographics, sources of syringes, LE interactions, and injection behaviors. Univariate, bivariate, and linear regression analyses were performed.
Respondents most often obtained syringes from pharmacies and syringe service programs (SSPs). Twenty-one percent disagreed that it was easy to obtain sterile syringes, with 28% reporting low or no access to an SSP. PWID who reported longer physical distances to an SSP had greater difficulty accessing syringes (PConclusions
These results underscore the importance of SSPs to mitigate the spread of human immunodeficiency virus and viral hepatitis in rural areas. Supporting mobile SSP services in rural areas could increase access to sterile syringes and injection supplies. SSPs should educate PWID about the importance of not sharing injection sup
Factors associated with perceived ease of access to syringes in Appalachian North Carolina