The public health-related harms caused by intravenous drug use (ID), the sharing of needles and syringes and other equipment, are rather considerable. The Health Belief Model (HBM) is a conceptual framework to understand preventive behaviour regarding the sharing of needle and other paraphernalia, as it presumes a rational actor in an attempt to prevent himself from risky behaviour. In this research, HBM was used as a testing tool among Hungarian intravenous drug users (IDU) to predict risk behaviour. Structured interviews were conducted with an overall 121 street-based (out-of-treatment) IDUs. The items in the questionnaire included variables on socio-demographic background, sex and ID risk behaviour as well as the HBM: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, self-efficacy. The results showed that self-efficacy, perceived susceptibility and perceived barriers as well as the number of drugs used in the past 30 days are significantly related to risky behaviour. Those perceiving increased AIDS susceptibility are more likely to be involved in high risk behaviour. The possible applicability of the model among IDUs, including the theory of rational decision-making, is also discussed. The planning of intervention strategies on IDUs' risky behaviour may be derived from the association found between behaviour and perceived risks.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.