Though prevalence of HIV and especially hepatitis C is high among people who inject drugs (PWID) in New York, about a third of those who have injected for 8-15 years have avoided infection by either virus despite their long-term drug use. Based on life history interviews with 35 long-term PWID in New York, this article seeks to show how successful integration and performance of various drug using and non-drug using roles may have contributed to some of these PWID’s staying uninfected with either virus. We argue that analysis of non-risk related aspects of the lives of the risk-takers (PWID) is very important in understanding their risk-taking behaviour and its outcomes (infection statuses). Drawing on work-related, social and institutional resources, our double-negative informants underwent both periods of stability and turmoil without getting infected.
Taking care of themselves: How long-term injection drug users remain HIV and hepatitis C free