Little is known about young persons who inject drugs (PWID), who are increasingly from suburban communities and predominantly non-Hispanic white.
We enrolled 164 young (median age=26), mostly male (65%), non-Hispanic white PWID (71%), with a self-reported HCV prevalence of 13%. Many (59%) reported multiple residences (i.e., were transient) in the past year, 45% of whom reported living in both urban and suburban places (i.e., were cross-over transients). In multivariable analyses that adjusted for participant and network member characteristics, (1) large injection networks were more common among homeless participants; and (2) syringe sharing was (a) highest among cross-over transients compared to suburban (OR=4.19 95% CI 1.69-10.35) and urban only residents (OR=2.91 95% CI 1.06-8.03), (b) higher among HCV-unknown compared HCV-negative participants (OR=4.62 95% CI 1.69-10.35), (c) more likely with network members who were cross-over transients compared to urban (OR=4.94, 95% CI 2.17-11.23) and (d) less likely with network members with HCV-unknown compared to HCV-negative status (OR=0.4 95% CI 0.19-0.84).
We conducted a cross-sectional personal network (egocentric) and geographic study of young PWID and their drug-using, sexual, and support network members in 2012-13 in metropolitan Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
We identified homelessness as a significant risk factor for large networks and cross-over transience as a significant risk factor for syringe sharing. Further research is needed to understand the role of geographic factors promoting higher risk among these crossover transient PWID.