University of Illinois at Chicago
Mackesy-Amiti_HRJ_2022.pdf (1.18 MB)

Egocentric network characteristics of people who inject drugs in the Chicago metro area and associations with hepatitis C virus and injection risk behavior

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posted on 2022-11-15, 22:30 authored by Mary Mackesy-AmitiMary Mackesy-Amiti, Joshua Falk, Carl Latkin, Maggie Kaufmann, Leslie WilliamsLeslie Williams, Basmattee BoodramBasmattee Boodram
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C (HCV) infection has been rising in the suburban and rural USA, mainly via injection-based transmission. Injection and sexual networks are recognized as an important element in fostering and preventing risky behavior; however, the role of social support networks has received somewhat less attention. METHODS: Using baseline data from an ongoing longitudinal study, we examined the composition and structure of injection drug use (IDU), sex, and social support networks of young people who inject drugs (aged 18-30) and their injection network members. Lasso logistic regression was used to select a subset of network characteristics that were potentially important predictors of injection risk behaviors and HCV exposure. RESULTS: Several measures of IDU, sexual, and support network structure and composition were found to be associated with HCV exposure, receptive syringe sharing (RSS), and ancillary equipment sharing. Gender and sexual relationships were important factors for all risk behaviors. Support network characteristics were also important, notably including a protective effect of majority Hispanic support networks for RSS and HCV exposure. Both IDU network residence heterogeneity and support network geography were associated with injection equipment sharing. CONCLUSIONS: The associations of IDU and support network geography with equipment sharing highlight the need to extend harm reduction efforts beyond urban areas. Greater understanding of support network influences on risk behavior may provide important insights to strengthen the benefits of harm reduction. In considering the probability of HCV transmission, it is important to consider setting and network structures that promote propagation of risk.


Contextual Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Among Young Persons Who inject Drugs | Funder: National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) | Grant ID: R01DA043484

Computational Discovery of Effective Hepatitis C intervention Strategies | Funder: Loyola University Chicago | Grant ID: R01GM121600

Computational modeling for HCV vaccine trial design and optimal vaccine-based combination interventions | Funder: Loyola University Chicago | Grant ID: R01AI158666


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Mackesy-Amiti, M. E., Falk, J., Latkin, C., Kaufmann, M., Williams, L.Boodram, B. (2022). Egocentric network characteristics of people who inject drugs in the Chicago metro area and associations with hepatitis C virus and injection risk behavior. Harm Reduction Journal, 19(1), 58-.


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