Within-prison drug injection among HIV-infected male prisoners in Indonesia: A highly constrained choice

Gabriel J. Culbert, Agung Waluyo, Mariska Iriyanti, Azalia P. Muchransyah, Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Frederick L. Altice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In Indonesia, incarceration of people who inject drugs (PWID) and access to drugs in prison potentiate within-prison drug injection (WP-DI), a preventable and extremely high-risk behavior that may contribute substantially to HIV transmission in prison and communities to which prisoners are released. Aims: This mixed method study examined the prevalence, correlates, and social context of WP-DI among HIV-infected male prisoners in Indonesia. Methods: 102 randomly selected HIV-infected male prisoners completed semi-structured voice-recorded interviews about drug use changes after arrest, drug use cues within prison, and impact of WP-DI on HIV and addiction treatment. Logistic regression identified multivariate correlates of WP-DI and thematic analysis of interview transcripts used grounded-theory. Results: Over half (56%) of participants reported previous WP-DI. Of those, 93% shared injection equipment in prison, and 78.6% estimated sharing needles with ≥10 other prisoners. Multivariate analyses independently correlated WP-DI with being incarcerated for drug offenses (AOR. = 3.29, 95%CI. = 1.30-8.31, p= 0.011) and daily drug injection before arrest (AOR. = 5.23, 95%CI. = 1.42-19.25, p= 0.013). Drug availability and proximity to drug users while incarcerated were associated with frequent drug craving and escalating drug use risk behaviors after arrest. Energetic heroin marketing and stigmatizing attitudes toward methadone contribute to WP-DI and impede addiction and HIV treatment. Conclusions: Frequent WP-DI and needle sharing among these HIV-infected Indonesian prison inmates indicate the need for structural interventions that reduce overcrowding, drug supply, and needle sharing, and improve detection and treatment of substance use disorders upon incarceration to minimize WP-DI and associated harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Drug injection
  • HIV
  • Indonesia
  • Methadone
  • Prisons


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