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Place of Residence Moderates the Relationship Between Emotional Closeness and Syringe Sharing Among Injection Drug Using Clients of Sex Workers in the US-Mexico Border Region

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Injection drug-using men from the US and Mexico who purchase sex in Tijuana, Mexico are at risk for transmitting HIV to their contacts in both countries via syringe sharing. We used social network methods to understand whether place of residence (US vs. Mexico) moderated the effect of emotional closeness on syringe sharing. We interviewed 199 drug-using men who reported paying/trading for sex in Tijuana, Mexico using an epidemiological and social network survey and collected samples for HIV/STI testing. Seventy-two men reported using injection drugs with 272 network contacts. Emotional closeness was strongly associated with syringe sharing in relationship where the partner lives in the US, while the relationship between emotional closeness and syringe sharing was considerably less strong in dyads where the partner lives in Mexico. Efforts to reduce HIV risk behaviors in emotionally close relationships are needed, and could benefit from tailoring to the environmental context of the relationship.

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