Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Kaveh Khoshnood


Heroin trafficking and consumption has increased steadily over the past decade in Tanzania, but limited information regarding HIV and drug abuse exists for the city of Mwanza. Our study investigates the epidemiology of drug use, and HIV risk behaviors among drug users in the northwestern city of Mwanza. Using a combination of targeted sampling and participant referral, we recruited 480 participants in Mwanza between June and August 2014. The sample was 92% male. Seventy-nine (16.4%) of participants reported injecting heroin, while 434 (90.4%) reported smoking heroin. Housing and cohabitation status were the only socioeconomic characteristics significantly associated with heroin injection. More than half of heroin injectors left syringes in common locations, and half reported sharing needles. Other risk behaviors such as lack of condom use during sex, and the use of illicit drugs during sex was widely reported as well. Among the study sample, there was poor awareness of health risks posed by needle sharing and drug abuse. Our results show that heroin abuse and HIV risk related behaviors are pressing problems that have largely been ignored in Mwanza. Harm reduction programs are greatly warranted in Mwanza.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access