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Table 2 Profiles of injecting drug users, their injecting risk behaviors*.

From: Profiles of risk: a qualitative study of injecting drug users in Tehran, Iran

  Private, stable injectors Unstable injectors
Primary districts representing the profile A S, B V, O
Relative size † Majority minority minority
Stability continuum Unstable -------------------------------------------------------- Stable
Distinguishing characteristics Predominantly male, live at home with family, stable resources (shelter, food, income from family), Predominantly young males, live at home with family but inject in public places or 'secure houses', limited resources (unemployed, dependent on family/ friends, some criminal involvement), shared injections for economic and emotional support, prevention of overdose Predominantly young males, live and inject in public places, poor health & hygiene, very limited/no resources (unemployed, criminal involvement common), multiple social problems (divorce, poverty, familial conflict); the most extreme of this group were the 'end-stage users'
HIV & injecting risk continuum Higher risk ---------------------------------------------------- Lower risk
Syringe use practices: hygiene and injecting customs Boiling, direct heating of point Licking point, rinsing with water, flushing with boiling water, wiping with cloth or paper; repeated reuse of syringes; injecting practices involving repeated injection of blood ("blood play") Licking point, rinsing with water, wiping with cloth or paper, or none; repeated reuse of syringes; injecting practices involving repeated injection of blood ("blood play"); often inject alone
Syringe use practices: sharing behaviors Few syringe sharing occasions; frequent other equipment sharing Many sharing occasions; sharing of other equipment typical Primarily syringe sharing occasions; primarily sharing of other equipment
Access to harm reduction materials #38; risk awareness access to pharmacy-sold syringes limited access to pharmacy-sold syringes; aware of HIV and injecting risks but continue to share limited access to pharmacy-sold syringes and lack of awareness of risk drives sharing behaviors
  1. *Note, Maghsud-Beik district was not noted for its injecting drug use and thus does not appear as a primary district for any of the IDU profiles.
  2. A = Amiriye, S = 13thAban, B = Bagh-e-Azari, V = Vali-e-Asr, O = Audlajan
  3. † Relative size was determined through the key informant interviews and secondary data sources for all districts (e.g., admissions to drug treatment, overdose deaths, etc.)