A Preliminary Evaluation of a Modified Needle-Cleaning Intervention Using Bleach Among Injection Drug Users

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This study examines an intervention designed to improve needle-cleaning practices among injection drug users (IDUs) in Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to meet the recommended bleach exposure time of at least 30 seconds. Simulated needle-cleaning practices were observed in offices at baseline and after an intervention at 2 to 4 week and 6-month follow-ups. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, logistic, and multiple regressions were used to examine behavior change and the correlates of safer cleaning practices. At baseline (n = 541), the mean bleach exposure time was 13.8 seconds. At first follow-up (n = 410), the mean bleach contact time (23.4 s) increased significantly (t = 8.59; p < .05). At 6-month follow-up (n = 83), the mean bleach exposure time (21.1 s) also increased significantly (t = 2.98; p < .05). Longer bleach contact time was associated with higher injection frequency and needle transfer at 6-month follow-up. Although mean bleach exposure time increased significantly at both follow-ups, only 30.3% of the IDUs kept bleach in the syringe for at least 30 seconds at 6-month follow-up. Improved interventions are needed.

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