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Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Rates and Correlates of HIV Risk Behaviors among Drug Abusers

Authors

  • Audrey J. Brooks PhD,

    Corresponding author
    • Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
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  • Yuliya Lokhnygina PhD,

    1. Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
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  • Christina S. Meade PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
    2. McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
    3. Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Jennifer Sharpe Potter PhD, MPH,

    1. McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
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  • Donald A. Calsyn PhD,

    1. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    2. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
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  • Shelly F. Greenfield MD, MPH

    1. McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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Address correspondence to Dr. Brooks, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, PO Box 245153, Tucson, AZ 85724. E-mail: brooksaj@email.arizona.edu.

Abstract

Background

HIV infection disproportionately impacts minorities; yet research on racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence and correlates of HIV risk behaviors is limited.

Objective

This study examined racial/ethnic differences in the rates of HIV risk behaviors and whether the relationship between HIV risk factors and HIV risk behaviors varies by race/ethnicity in clients participating in NIDA Clinical Trials Network trials.

Results

The sample was 41% non-Hispanic White, 32% non-Hispanic Black, and 27% Hispanic (N = 2,063). HIV risk behaviors and measures of substance and psychosocial HIV risk factors in the past month were obtained. Non-Hispanic Blacks engaged in less HIV sexual risk behaviors overall than non-Hispanic Whites. While non-Hispanic Whites were the most likely to report any injection drug use, Hispanics engaged in the most HIV drug risk behaviors. Specific risk factors were differentially predictive of HIV risk behavior by race/ethnicity. Alcohol use severity was related to engaging in higher sex risk behaviors for non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites. Greater psychiatric severity was related to engaging in higher sex risk behaviors for non-Hispanic Whites. Drug use severity was associated with engaging in higher risk drug behaviors for non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics with the magnitude of the relationship stronger for Hispanics.

Conclusions

These findings highlight the need for further research testing HIV risk prevention interventions within racial/ethnic groups to identify target behaviors or risk factors that are salient to inform HIV interventions.

Scientific Significance

The present study provides a systematic examination of race/ethnicity differences in the relationship between psychosocial risk factors and HIV risk behaviors. (Am J Addict 2013;22:136-147)

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