Background: People who inject drugs (PWID) in Puerto Rico engage in high levels of injection and sexual risk behavior, and they are at high risk for HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) infection, relative to their US counterparts. Less is known, however, about the clustering of risk behavior conducive to HIV and HCV infection among rural Puerto Rican communities. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine concurrent injection and sexual risk subtypes among a rural sample of PWID in Puerto Rico. Methods: Data were drawn from a respondent-driven sample collected in 2015 of 315 PWID in 4 rural communities approximately 30-40 miles from San Juan. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to examine risk subtypes using 3 injection and 3 sexual risk indicators. In addition, demographic and other PWID characteristics were examined as possible predictors of latent class membership. Results: Four LCA subtypes were identified: low risk (36%), high injection/low sexual risk (22%), low injection/high sexual risk (20%), and high risk (22%). Younger age and past year homelessness predicted high risk latent class membership, relative to the other classes. In addition, daily speedball use predicted membership in the high injection/low sexual risk class, relative to the low risk and low injection/high sexual risk classes. Conclusion/Importance: The findings suggest ways in which PWID risk clusters can be identified for targeted interventions.
- hepatitis C
- substance use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health