Predictors of Drug Injection in High-Risk Populations of Prisoners with a History of Tattooing: A Cross-Sectional Study

Saeede Jafari, Ghobad Moradi, Mohammad Mehdi Gouya, Fatemeh Azimian Zavareh, Ebrahim Ghaderi


Background: Transmitting blood-borne diseases is alarming in places with high prevalence of people who inject drugs. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of drug injection and its related predictors among prisoners with a history of tattooing in Iran.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: By using a census sampling, 5493 prisoners with a history of tattooing of 11988 prisoners participated for hepatitis B and C bio-behavioral surveillance surveys (BSS) in prisons of Iran, during 2015-2016 from 55 prisons in 19 provinces were assessed. The data for the BSS were collected using face-to-face checklist-based interviews. Weighted prevalence and the association between variables and history of drug injection were determined using Chi-square test and adjusted odds ratio (AOR) was estimated through multivariate logistic regression test using survey package.

Results: The mean age of participants was 33.9 ±8.3 yr. Most of them were male (96.4%) and had a history of drug use (85.4%). The prevalence of drug injection among drug users was 20.2%, of which 33.9% had a history of shared injection. The prevalence of drug injection among prisoners with a history of tattooing is associated with male gender (P=0.047), age ≥35 yr (P<0.001), being single (P=0.002), being divorced/widow (P=0.039), and a history of imprisonment (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The prevalence of drug injection increases in the presence of other high-risk behaviors. It is necessary to initiate harm reduction programs and preventive interventions in groups with multiple high-risk behaviors.


Drug injection; Prisoners; Tattooing

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