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Gender Differences in Sex Risk Behaviors Among Ukraine Injection Drug Users

Booth, Robert E PhD, MA*; Lehman, Wayne E PhD*; Brewster, John T LCSW*; Sinitsyna, Larisa MA; Dvoryak, Sergey MD, PhD

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: September 1st, 2007 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - p 112-117
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318141f965
Epidemiology and Social Science

Objective: To assess gender differences in drug and sex risk behaviors and evaluate predictors of HIV-related sex risk behaviors among heterosexual injection drug users (IDUs) in Ukraine.

Design: Street-recruited IDUs from Kiev, Odessa, and Makeevka/Donesk, Ukraine.

Methods: From June 2004 through November 2006, outreach workers recruited 1557 IDUs, including 526 from Kiev, 494 from Odessa, and 537 from Makeevka/Donesk. Participants were administered a standardized computer-assisted interview assessing HIV-related drug and sex risk behaviors, self-efficacy for practicing safe sex, and HIV knowledge.

Results: Overall, 80% of the participants were sexually active in the 30-day period before their interview. They also engaged in high-risk sex behaviors during this brief 30-day window: 53% reported anal or vaginal sex without a condom, 27% had sex with more than 1 partner, 41% had an IDU sex partner, and 37% had an HIV-positive sex partner or a partner whose HIV status they did not know. Overall, women were at higher risk than men and were more likely to have been told they were HIV-positive.

Conclusion: The extremely high HIV prevalence rate in Ukraine and in this cohort, combined with their recent high-risk sex behaviors, forecasts not only a continuance of the epidemic in the region but an escalation.

From the *Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO; †Counterpart International, Kiev, Ukraine; and ‡Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy, Kiev, Ukraine.

Received for publication February 15, 2007; accepted June 14, 2007.

Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grant DA09832).

Reprints: Robert E. Booth, PhD, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 1741 Vine Street, Denver, CO 80206 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.