`There is no profile it is just everyone`: The challenge of targeting hepatitis C education and prevention messages to the diversity of current and future injecting drug users

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This paper investigates drug use, knowledge of hepatitis C, and risk minimisation amongst participants of the Sydney inner city dance party/club scene. The aim is to identify factors that contribute to the limited success of hepatitis C education and prevention efforts in Australia and to suggest ways in which they might be improved. The method used was a thematic analysis of 31 semi-structured qualitative interviews with people drawn from the Sydney inner city dance party/club scene. This is a scene where the consumption of recreational drugs is normalised, and where the practice of injecting takes place, albeit less commonly to other routes of administration. In the material presented here. drugs are seen as sources of enjoyment and experimentation, but are not seen as necessary to the functioning of daily life. Indeed, dependency on drugs is largely seen as undesirable. Most participants consider themselves to be both well informed about the drugs the use and in control of their drug use. Whilst participants in this scene are generally well informed about drugs (and deploy harm reduction strategies to avoid such things as overdose), their knowledge of hepatitis C is limited and vague. The marginal and stigmatised status of injecting both inside and outside the scene appears to contribute to an absence of information and communication about safer injecting and hepatitis C within the scene. Often information about safe injecting is perceived to lack relevance to scene participants and to be aimed at `other` injecting drug users (IDU). The material discussed confirms the diversity of IDU and the crossover between social, sexual and drug networks. Whilst this poses challenges for education and prevention, the exploration of these networks or scenes has the potential to inform the content of education and prevention materials as well as identifying contexts for dissemination. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Ellard, Jeanne
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