Background. Shooting galleries, locations where intravenous drug users (IVDUs) can rent or borrow needles and syringes, are a high-risk environment for HIV-1 transmission. This study investigates risk factors for lifetime attendance at shooting galleries and differentiates characteristics of those who continue to frequent shooting galleries and those who have stopped. Methods. We interviewed 2615 active IVDUs in Baltimore in 1988 and 1989 and determined patterns of IV drug use, sociodemographics, and HIV-1 serostatus as related to persistence vs cessation of shooting gallery use. Results. Over half (52%) of active IVDUs reported ever using a shooting gallery, with 33% reporting use within the prior 3 months. In multivariate analysis, lifetime shooting gallery use was associated with male gender, homosexuality/bisexuality, low socioeconomic status, Black race, and heavier drug involvement. Persistent shooting gallery users were more frequently male, homosexual/bisexual, homeless, less educated, and started IV drug use more recently compared with those who ceased going to shooting galleries. Conclusions. Shooting gallery attendance may be pragmatic from a sociological and economic perspective, but it carries with it a heightened risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health