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The object of this study is to compare female and male injection drug users (IDUs) in terms of sociodemographic profile and aspects of their initiation to the use of injection drugs. It was a cross-sectional and multicentric study realized in 2000-2001 in six Brazilian syringe-exchange programs. 146 women and 709 men were interviewed, with average ages of 29.5 and 28.3 years, respectively. Both began injection drug use at similar ages, 18.6 and 19.3, for women and men, respectively, althoughdoi:10.1590/s0102-311x2006000400018 pmid:16612433 fatcat:h5bvwqkq7jfdhjtdmxykvkek4m