Objective: To compare characteristics of first-time needle exchange participants who enrolled at a mobile van-based exchange site versus a fixed pharmacy-based exchange site, in an area where both types of needle exchange programs were available.
Methods: Demographic and drug use data were collected on needle exchange program participants on enrollment. Participants were included if they were first-time participants at the Baltimore needle exchange program between December 1997 and March 1999, and if their first visit was at either one van-based site or at one of two pharmacy-based sites. Descriptive statistics and inferences were based on the type of needle exchange into which participants enrolled.
Results: Among 286 first-time participants, 92% were African American, 28% were women, 11% were currently employed, 55% completed high school, and the median age was 40 years. In multivariate analyses, van-based enrollment was more common among frequent injectors (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0), but less common among African American participants (OR = 0.21).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that different venues for needle exchange program settings attract different types of drug injecting participants. This suggests that offering different venue types to reach participants with differing drug use patterns will be important to optimize risk reduction strategies.
(C) 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.