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.
Street-recruited IDUs from Kiev, Odessa, and Makeevka/Donesk, Ukraine.
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.
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.
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: robert.booth@UCHSC.edu).