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Determinants of HIV-related High Risk Behaviours Among Young Offenders: A Window of Opportunity

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Abstract

Purpose: To study HIV-associated risk behaviours among young offenders.

Methods: Juveniles aged 12 to 19 years entering correctional facilities in British Columbia volunteered in an unlinked anonymous study. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with high-risk sexual behaviours and injection drug use (IDU).

Results: Despite low HIV prevalence (0.25%), patterns of risk behaviour were evident. IDU and homosexual/bisexual activity were equally prevalent among youth aged 12 to 1 5 and 16 to 19 years. For both age groups, IDU and female gender were significant predictors of sex for trade and sex with another drug user. Natives aged 12 to 15 years were five times more likely to inject drugs than non-Natives. However, predictors of IDU differed for older vs. younger youth.

Conclusions: Patterns of high-risk activity begin early and selective pressures may differ for younger vs. older young offenders. Youth in detention provide a window of opportunity for enhanced HIV/AIDS education.

Résumé

But: Étudier la prévalence de l’infection au VIH et les comportements à haut risque chez les jeunes admis dans des centres de détention.

Méthodologie: Les jeunes âgés de 12 à 19 ans admis dans six centres de détention en Colombie Britannique ont accepté de participer à une étude anonyme, non reliée. Nous avons utilisé un modèle de régression logistique afin d’identifier les facteurs associés aux comportements sexuels à haut risque et à l’usage de drogues injectables.

Résultats: Malgré une faible prévalence de l’infection au VIH (0,25 %), la présence de comportements à haut risque était évidente. L’usage de drogue injectable et les activités sexuelles entre hommes étaient aussi prévalents chez les jeunes de 12 à 15 ans que chez ceux de 16 à 19 ans. Chez les deux groupes d’âge, l’usage de drogue injectable et le sexe féminin sont apparus comme des prédicteurs significatifs des activités sexuelles pour de l’argent et du fait d’avoir des relations sexuelles avec un autre usager de drogue injectable. Le risque d’injection de drogue chez les jeunes autochtones âgés de 12 à 15 ans était cinq fois plus important que chez les non-autochtones. Cependant, les facteurs associés à l’usage de drogue injectable étaient différents chez les plus âgés comparativement aux plus jeunes.

Conclusions: Les comportements à haut risque se manifestent tôt dans la vie et des forces différentes semblent s’exercer selon l’âge. Les jeunes en détention représentent un groupe privilégié pour des interventions intensives d’éducation sur le VIH/sida.

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Correspondence to Dr. Diane A. Rothon MD.

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Rothon, D.A., Strathdee, S.A., Cook, D. et al. Determinants of HIV-related High Risk Behaviours Among Young Offenders: A Window of Opportunity. Can J Public Health 88, 14–17 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03403851

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