Factors associated with the willingness of policemen to participate in a needle exchange program

Cheng Hui Chen, Wei Li Liu, Tzu Ying Wu, Hsin I. Chiang, Yi Yin Lai, Nai Ying Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors associated with the willingness of policemen to participate in needle exchange programs in Taiwan. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among policemen who attended an introductory program about needle exchange programs in seven counties of southern Taiwan. Anonymous, voluntary questionnaires were distributed to the policemen. These included scales for assessing knowledge and attitude toward HIV and hepatitis, attitudes toward injection drug users (IDUs), and experiences during drug crackdowns. Results: A total of 745 policemen attended introductory programs. Of the 467 respondents (62.7% of the survey sample), fifty-six percent of the policmen (n=247) were willing to actively participate in the needle exchange programs. Compared to the unwilling participants, policemen willing to actively participate in the needle exchange programs: had higher scores on knowledge of HIV and hepatitis (OR, 1.27; 95%CI, 1.07-1.51; p<0.01), felt comfortable being with IDUs (OR, 1.24; 95%CI, 1.06-1.45; p<0.01), were older (OR, 1.12, 95%CI, 1.02-1.22; p<0.05), had a negative attitude toward IDUs (OR, 0.88; 95%CI, 0.78-0.99; p<0.05), and experienced fewer episodes of splattering by suspect's blood (OR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.21-0.90; p<0.05). Conclusions: It is important for policemen to improve their knowledge about HIV and hepatitis, and about ways to prevent occupational exposure to bloodborne transmitted viruses. A comprehensive and effective post-exposure protocol is essential in order to minimize the risk of occupational bloodborne viral infections for policemen and to enhance their willingness to actively participate in needle exchange programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Volume28
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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