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The intersecting risks of substance use and HIV risk among substance-using South African men and women

Browne, Felicia A; Wechsberg, Wendee M

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: May 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 205–209
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32833864eb
Addictive disorders: Edited by John B. Saunders and Linda B. Cottler

Purpose of review The aim of this article is to review the recent literature examining the intersection between alcohol and other drug use and HIV risk behaviors for South African men and women, and the implications for the development of interventions and future research.

Recent findings The current literature indicates that substance use in sexual contexts (i.e. before or during sex) as well as outside of the sexual context is associated with HIV risk behaviors, such as having unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. Additionally, environments where substances are used, such as drinking establishments, may be associated with HIV risk behaviors. Moreover, sexual violence is also associated with substance use. Brief HIV prevention interventions to address substance use have demonstrated promising findings – such as consistent condom use, less impaired sex, and less unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse – when compared with other interventions.

Summary Recent research findings support the previous literature concerning the link between substance use and HIV risk behaviors in South Africa and suggest the need for interventions focused on sexual risk behaviors in the context of substance use and the environments in which they are used.

RTI International, Substance Abuse Treatment, Evaluations and Interventions Research Program, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence to Felicia A. Browne, RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA Tel: +1 919 541 7180; fax: +1 919 485 5555; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.