One of the main concerns of policymakers is to measure the impact of harm reduction programs and different interventions on the risk of HIV transmission among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs). Looking simultaneously at multiple factors and conditions that affect the risk of HIV transmission may provide policymakers a better insight into the mixed nature of HIV transmission.
The present study aimed to design a simple, brief, and multi-dimensional scale for measuring HIV transmission risk among IDUs.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
From October 2013 to March 2014, we conducted face-to-face interviews with 147 IDUs. Eligible participants were individuals 18 years or older who had injected drugs at least once during the last year and had not participated in similar studies within the 2 months before the interview. To design a scale for measuring HIV transmission risk, we specified 11 items, which address different dimensions of HIV risk taking behaviors/situations based on experts' opinion. We applied exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with principal component extraction to develop scales. Eigen values greater than 1 were used as a criterion for factor extraction.
We extracted 7 items based on first factor, which were accounted for 21% of the variations. The final scale contained 7 items: 4 items were related to injecting practice and 3 items related to sexual behaviors. The Cronbach's α coefficient was 0.66, acceptable for such a brief scale.
Applying a simple and brief scale that incorporates the different dimensions of HIV transmission risk may provide policymakers and harm reductionists with a better understanding of HIV transmission in this key group and may be advantageous for evaluating intervention programs.