Usefulness of the Health Belief Model in Predicting HIV Needle Risk Practices Among Injection Drug Users

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A health belief model (HBM) that included the dimensions of perceived susceptibility, seriousness, benefits, barriers, and self-efficacy was employed to predict which injection drug users (IDUs) were engaged in needle-use practices that reduced their risk for contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A sample of 118 active IDUs, many of whom also used crack cocaine, responded to interviewer-administered questionnaires that gathered information on their drug-use practices in the last thirty days, as well as their health beliefs. Logistic regression analysis revealed that two health beliefs--perceived self-efficacy (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.04, 1.55) and perceived susceptibility (OR = .82, 95% CI = .71, .94)--were significantly related to safer injection practices. Other predictors of safer injection were black ethnicity (OR = 3.18, 95% CI = 1.19, 8.47) and injection frequency (OR = .99, 95% CI = .98, .99). The results of this study suggest that the HBM has a role to play in risk-reduction programs targeting IDUs.

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