Prevalence and Correlates of Needle-Stick Injuries Among Active Duty Police Officers in Tijuana, Mexico

Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol. 9 (Suppl 3): 20874 (2016)

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 269-2016

8 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2016 Last revised: 27 Jul 2016

See all articles by Maria Rolon

Maria Rolon

University of California, San Diego - School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine

Efrain Mandujano

Xochicalco University

Daniela Abramovitz

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health

Teresita Rocha

University of California, San Diego - School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health

Jaime Arredondo

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health

Arnulfo Banuelos

Department of Planning and Special Projects, Secretarıa de Seguridad Publica Municipal, Tijuana, Mexico

Gudelia Rangel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Steffanie A. Strathdee

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health

Date Written: July 18, 2016

Abstract

Introduction: Police officers are at an elevated risk for needle-stick injuries (NSI), which pose a serious and costly occupational health risk for HIV and viral hepatitis. However, research on NSIs among police officers is limited, especially in low- and middle income countries. Despite the legality of syringe possession in Mexico, half of people who inject drugs (PWID) in Tijuana report extrajudicial syringe-related arrests and confiscation by police, which has been associated with needle-sharing and HIV infection. We assessed the prevalence and correlates of NSIs among Tijuana police officers to inform efforts to improve occupational safety and simultaneously reduce HIV risks among police and PWID.

Methods: Tijuana’s Department of Municipal Public Safety (SSPM) is among Mexico’s largest. Our binational, multi-sectoral team analyzed de-identified data from SSPM’s 2014 anonymous self-administered occupational health survey. The prevalence of NSI and syringe disposal practices was determined. Logistic regression with robust variance estimation via generalized estimating equations identified factors associated with ever having an occupational NSI.

Results: Approximately one-quarter of the Tijuana police force was given the occupational health survey (N=503). Respondents were predominantly male (86.5%) and ≤35 years old (42.6%). Nearly one in six officers reported ever having a NSI while working at SSPM (15.3%), of whom 14.3% reported a NSI within the past year. Most participants reported encountering needles/syringes while on duty (n=473, 94%); factors independently associated with elevated odds of NSIs included frequently finding syringes that contain drugs (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.98; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.56-5.67) and breaking used needles (AOR: 2.25; 95% CI: 1.29-3.91), while protective factors included being willing to contact emergency services in case of NSIs (AOR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.22-0.69), and wearing needle-stick resistant gloves (AOR: 0.43; 95% CI: 0.19-0.91).

Conclusions: Tijuana police face an elevated and unaddressed occupational NSI burden associated with unsafe syringe-handling practices, exposing them to substantial risk of HIV and other blood-borne infections. These findings spurred the development and tailoring of training to reduce NSI by modifying officer knowledge, attitudes and enforcement practices (e.g. syringe confiscation) factors that also impact HIV transmission among PWID and other members of the community.

Keywords: occupational accidents, HIV, viral hepatitis, syringe disposal, syringe confiscation, policing, law enforcement, harm reduction

Suggested Citation

Rolon, Maria and Beletsky, Leo and Mandujano, Efrain and Abramovitz, Daniela and Rocha, Teresita and Arredondo, Jaime and Banuelos, Arnulfo and Rangel, Gudelia and Strathdee, Steffanie A., Prevalence and Correlates of Needle-Stick Injuries Among Active Duty Police Officers in Tijuana, Mexico (July 18, 2016). Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol. 9 (Suppl 3): 20874 (2016); Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 269-2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2814097

Maria Rolon

University of California, San Diego - School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health ( email )

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Efrain Mandujano

Xochicalco University ( email )

Calle Novena 1199
Plutarco Elías Calles
Tijuana, Mexicali, B.C. 21376
Mexico

Daniela Abramovitz

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Teresita Rocha

University of California, San Diego - School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health ( email )

Jaime Arredondo

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Arnulfo Banuelos

Department of Planning and Special Projects, Secretarıa de Seguridad Publica Municipal, Tijuana, Mexico ( email )

Segundo Eje Oriente Poniente 104
iudad Industrial Nueva
Tijuana, Baja California 22390
Mexico

Gudelia Rangel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Steffanie A. Strathdee (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health ( email )

La Jolla, CA
United States

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