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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: People Who Use Drugs Face Multiple, Co-occuring Injection and Sexual Related HIV risks

Researchers at the Brown University School of Public Health have just published a study in the journal Substance Use and Misuse detailing the results of qualitative interviews done with people who inject drugs (PWID) in the Northeastern United States. The questions were designed to find out more about the risk factors for human immunodefiency virus (HIV) that PWID may face. The study was lead by Mr. Alberto Edeza, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and was supervised by Dr. Kate Biello, an associate professor of behavioral and social sciences.

Thirty-three PWID from two major cities in the Northeastern US were recruited and asked questions about sexual partnerships, injection drug use, condom use and use of PrEP. Sixty-six percent of those interviewed reported having sex without a condom in the past 3 months, 33 percent reported having multiple sexual partners. In addition, 64 percent percent reported sharing a syringe in the past month. Themes that came up included using drugs with sexual partners, including crystal meth and exchanging sex for money for drugs.

The authors explain that these results display how complex and multifaceted HIV risks are for people who use drugs, but despite this, PWID may be neglected by care providers. They recommend that prevention efforts take into account the overlapping sexual and injection drug related risk factors and that preventative services be targeted towards PWID.

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