HIV/AIDS and injection drug use in the neighborhoods of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Sheryl A. McCurdy, Michael W. Ross, Gad Paul Kilonzo, M. T. Leshabari, Mark L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study examines the intersection between needle-sharing practices and HIV recovered from used syringes collected from 73 heroin injection drug users (IDUs) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between October 2003 and January 2004. To extract blood residue, syringes were flushed and 10 microliters of solution mixed with 120 microliters of a latex solution was placed on a Capillus HIV-1/2 slide. Thirty-five (57%) of the useable syringes tested positive for HIV antibodies. Results varied significantly: 90% of syringes tested HIV positive in a mixed-income neighborhood 2 kilometers from the city center: 0% of syringes tested HIV positive in the outlying areas. In addition, semistructured interviews were conducted with 51 IDUs. The interviews were content coded, and codes were collapsed into emergent themes regarding syringe-use practices. Injecting is a recent practice, particularly among heroin users in neighborhoods far from the city center. Sharing syringes has resulted in a high proportion of used syringes containing HIV-positive blood residue. Geographic distance is an indicator of recent adoption of IDU in neighborhoods and correlates strongly with the distribution of syringes containing HIV-positive blood residue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S23-S27
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is based on an ongoing collaboration between researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences and was supported by a supplement to grant number R01 DA14519 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, USA. The opinions expressed in the manuscript are solely those of the authors. We thank Stella Mujaya, Samueli Kihore, Mary Anderson Mbwambo, and Brown Ibrahim for their assistance in the data collection and management of this project; Patrick Courtney for his assistance with generating the map; and Dr. Jessie Mbwambo for facilitating communication between the investigators.


  • Africa
  • HIV risk
  • Heroin
  • Injection
  • Needle sharing
  • Urban


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