The association between the Gender-Equitable Men Scale and injection risk behaviors in Appalachian Ohio

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The Ohio State University

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Objectives: To assess levels of gender-inequitable norms among people who inject drugs (PWID) in rural Ohio and how respective Gender-Equitable Men Scale (GEMS) scores correlate to injection risk behaviors. Methods: Cross-sectional data from the Ohio Opioid Project was used in this study, which had GEMS questions embedded. A question regarding the number of times a participant shared a syringe in the last month was used as a proxy for injection risk behavior. Results: Poisson regression models revealed that overall GEMS scores did not have an effect on syringe sharing behavior. Chi-squared tests did indicate lower levels of inequity than were assumed in Appalachian Ohio, though women were more likely to approve of violence and men were more likely to disapprove of homosexuality. Conclusions: Gender norms play an important role in the cultural acceptability of violence, which could influence injection practices in rural Ohio. The deeper reasons why must be understood in order to address disparities in injection risk behaviors.



Gender-Equitable Men Scale, people who inject drugs, gender, injection risk behavior, syringe sharing