HIV risk behaviours, perceived severity of drug use problems, and prior treatment experience in a sample of young heroin injectors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Interviews were conducted with 203 male and 95 female heroin injectors aged 17 to 25 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Nearly one-quarter of participants reported injecting with needles used by someone else. Few reported cleaning needles with bleach. Multiple sexual partnerships, unprotected sex, and trading sex for money were especially present among women, the majority (55%) of whom was HIV seropositive. Self reports suggest the presence of heroin dependence among users. While most participants expressed a desire to quit their use, only 14 (5%) had been in treatment. There appears to be a large unmet need for heroin use treatment. These findings need to be considered in light of a potential forthcoming wave of heroin injection in sub-Saharan Africa.
Key Words: HIV, injection drug use, Africa, heroin, drug dependence treatment