Impact of Gender and Sex Work on Sexual and Injecting Risk Behaviors and Their Association With HIV Positivity Among Injecting Drug Users in an HIV Epidemic in Togliatti City, Russian Federation


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Abstract

Objectives:Togliatti City is witness to a large epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) associated with injecting drug use (IDU).Goal:This study sought to examine whether risk behaviors and risk factors associated with HIV differed across a sample IDUs by gender and sex work.Study:A sample of IDU (n = 423) comprising female sex workers (SWs) (n = 66), non–sex workers (nonSWs) (n = 89) and men (n = 268) were recruited by field workers in community settings. Behavioral and HIV prevalence data were collected.Results:HIV prevalence did not differ across the groups (∼56%), but gender adversely affected some risk factors. A comparison of risk behaviors indicated that SWs were more likely to engage in risky injecting behaviors than either men or nonSWs. They were also more likely to report a history of sexually transmitted infections.Conclusions:IDUs involved in sex work and IDU nonSWs require specific and targeted interventions to facilitate safer injecting and sexual behaviors.

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