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Objectives: To characterize the prevalence and correlates of HIV infection among drug users in southwestern China.

Methods: Drug users in Longdao village, Yunnan Province underwent standardized interview and voluntary HIV serologic testing in a cross-sectional study. Analyses of potential risk and protective factors were stratified by method of drug use.

Results: Of 182 participants, 79 (43%) were HIV-1-seropositive. HIV seropositivity was found in 51 (80%) of the 64 intravenous drug users (IVDU) and 28 (24%) of the 118 who acknowledged use of drugs only by smoking [odds ratio (OR), 12.6; 95% confidence interval (CD, 5.7-28.5]. Among IVDU, reported sterilization of reusable injection equipment by boiling before intravenous drug use was associated with significant protection (adjusted OR, 0.16; 95% Cl, 0.03-0.87). This protective association was also significant among the subset of IVDU who shared reusable injection equipment.

Conclusions: HIV infection among drug users in Yunnan Province was highly correlated with intravenous drug use. The protective effect of sterilization of reusable injection equipment by boiling could be easily integrated into health education programs among IVDU in China and other rural Asian settings where reusable injection equipment is used.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.