Purpose Investigate whether characteristics of geographic areas are associated with condomless sex and injection-related risk behavior among racial/ethnic groups of people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United States. Methods PWID were recruited from 19 metropolitan statistical areas for 2009 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance. Administrative data described ZIP codes, counties, and metropolitan statistical areas where PWID lived. Multilevel models, stratified by racial/ethnic groups, were used to assess relationships of place-based characteristics to condomless sex and injection-related risk behavior (sharing injection equipment). Results Among black PWID, living in the South (vs. Northeast) was associated with injection-related risk behavior (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.21–4.17; P =.011), and living in counties with higher percentages of unaffordable rental housing was associated with condomless sex (AOR = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.00–1.04; P =.046). Among white PWID, living in ZIP codes with greater access to drug treatment was negatively associated with condomless sex (AOR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.88–1.00; P =.038). Conclusions Policies that increase access to affordable housing and drug treatment may make environments more conducive to safe sexual behaviors among black and white PWID. Future research designed to longitudinally explore the association between residence in the south and injection-related risk behavior might identify specific place-based features that sustain patterns of injection-related risk behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condom use
- Drug treatment
- Injection drug use