BACKGROUND: The 2008 Recession was a global event that led to funding cuts for programs and services in the United States; though this recession officially ended in 2009, its aftershocks continued through 2012. We evaluated the relationship between the severity of the Great Recession’s aftermath and spatial access to combined prevention services (i.e. HIV testing, syringe service programs, substance use disorder treatment program) for people who inject drugs (PWID) living in 19 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States.
METHODS: The unit of analysis was the ZIP code; we sampled ZIP codes in these 19 MSAs where >/=1 PWID lived in 2009 and 2012, according to the CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance. We used administrative data to describe the combined prevention environment (i.e., spatial access to HIV testing) for each ZIP code, and measured the severity of the recession’s aftermath in each ZIP code, and in the counties and MSAs where these ZIP codes were located. Multilevel modeling estimated associations between changes in the aftermath of the Great Recession and ZIP code-level changes in spatial access to combined prevention services from 2009 to 2012.
RESULTS: 675 ZIP codes located in 36 counties and 19 MSAs were included in this analysis. From 2009 to 2012, 21% of ZIP code areas lost access to combined prevention services and 14% gained access. ZIP codes with higher poverty rates relative to their respective MSAs were less likely to lose access (aOR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.95) and more likely to gain access (aOR: 1.05; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.09); there is some evidence to suggest the former association was attenuated for ZIP codes with higher percentages of non-Hispanic white residents.
CONCLUSION: Combined prevention services for PWID living in these 675 ZIP codes demonstrated resilience in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Future research should explore whether community-based and federal HIV prevention initiatives contributed to this resilience, particularly in areas with higher concentrations of people of color.
Is the severity of the Great Recession’s aftershocks correlated with changes in access to the combined prevention environment among people who inject drugs?
International Journal of Drug Policy, 95, 103264. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103264.