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Open AccessArticle

Exploring the Perceived Risks and Benefits of Heroin Use among Young People (18–24 Years) in Mauritius: Economic Insights from an Exploratory Qualitative Study

1
Health Policy and Financing Unit, Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
2
Department of Psychology, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061, USA
3
Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium, Regent Court, P.O Box 69866-00400 Nairobi, Kenya
4
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit 80837, Mauritius
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176126
Received: 30 June 2020 / Revised: 15 August 2020 / Accepted: 19 August 2020 / Published: 23 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Promotion for Sexual Health and Prevention of HIV)
The decreasing age of young people injecting illicit drugs is an under-reported challenge for the prevention of HIV transmission worldwide. Young people aged 15–24 years represent 1 in 5 persons living with HIV in Mauritius where the epidemic is driven by injecting drug use and risky sexual behaviours. We recruited 22 heroin users aged 18–24 and 5 service providers working in harm reduction (HR) for the present study. Qualitative data were collected through unstructured interviews. We adopted an economic framework and an inductive approach to the analysis, which implied revising codes and themes. The risks heroin users described as consumers of illicit drugs and as clients of HR services could not be analyzed in isolation. Polydrug use emerged as a recurrent coping mechanism resulting from the changing dynamics within the heroin market. The risks faced by women went beyond addiction and infection with HIV. How participants viewed the risks and benefits linked to using heroin was greatly influenced by gaps in knowledge that left room for uncertainty and reinforcing mechanisms such as peer influence. The study shows that qualitative research can produce in-depth socio-behavioural insights required to produce more effective services for young people. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk perception; heroin use; young people; harm reduction; health economics; Mauritius; HIV/AIDS risk perception; heroin use; young people; harm reduction; health economics; Mauritius; HIV/AIDS
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MDPI and ACS Style

White, G.; Luczak, S.E.; Mundia, B.; Goorah, S. Exploring the Perceived Risks and Benefits of Heroin Use among Young People (18–24 Years) in Mauritius: Economic Insights from an Exploratory Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176126

AMA Style

White G, Luczak SE, Mundia B, Goorah S. Exploring the Perceived Risks and Benefits of Heroin Use among Young People (18–24 Years) in Mauritius: Economic Insights from an Exploratory Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(17):6126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176126

Chicago/Turabian Style

White, Gareth; Luczak, Susan E.; Mundia, Bernard; Goorah, Smita. 2020. "Exploring the Perceived Risks and Benefits of Heroin Use among Young People (18–24 Years) in Mauritius: Economic Insights from an Exploratory Qualitative Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 17: 6126. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176126

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