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Gender Differences in Risk Behaviors Among HIV+ Persons With an IDU History: The Link Between Partner Characteristics and Women's Higher Drug-Sex Risks


Original Articles

Background and Objectives: Risk-taking behaviors differ among women and men injection drug users (IDU).

Goal: To specify the nature of sexual and drug risk-taking among women IDU and ex-IDU and how it relates to partner characteristics.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis of 324 HIV+ subjects enrolled into a prospective cohort study in Marseille, France.

Results: Women, as compared with men, were considerably more likely to report nonuse of condoms with a main partner (31% versus 12%). They were more likely to shoot with a partner at last injection (39% versus 12%), but far less likely to sterilize used needles (4% versus 16%). Two thirds of both men and women reported consistent condom use with a seronegative partner, but only 47% of men and 23% of women reported the same with a seropositive partner. Among the women only, needle and syringe sharing was associated with consistent use of a condom.

Conclusions: Women reported behaviors which protect their partners from STD infection more frequently than behaviors which protect themselves. Greater attention must be paid to sexual risk-taking among HIV+ women.

* From Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, †Columbia University School of Public Health, New York, New York, ‡INSERM Research Unit 379, §Regional Center for Disease Control (ORSPACA), Marseille, France

The Manif 2000 Study Group includes: A. Bourgeade, P. Carrieri, J.P. Cassuto, P. Cavailler, M. Chesney, T. Coates, P. Dellamonica, M. Dugourd, P. Dujardin, N. Escaffre, H. Gallais, J.A. Gastaut, E. Gollub, G. Lepeu, A. Loundou, V. Maslin, D. Mechali, J.P. Moatti, Y. Obadia, D. Rey, C. Reynaud-Maurupt, C. Rouzioux, A. Schaeffer, A. Sobel, C. Tamalet, F. Tremolieres, and D. Vlahov.

The authors thank Carole Giovannini for her expert help in data management and Anderson Loundou for his invaluable program support during data analysis.

This research was supported by the Franco-American Commission for Cultural Exchange, ANRS (France), ECS - Sidaction (France), and Departmental Council (Bouches du Rhône - France).

Correspondence: Erica L. Gollub, DrPH, Penn/VA Center for Studies of Addiction, University of Pennsylvania, 3900 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104.

© Copyright 1998 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association