Injection Practices and Sexual Behaviors Among Persons with Diagnosed HIV Infection Who Inject Drugs — United States, 2015–2017
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Injection Practices and Sexual Behaviors Among Persons with Diagnosed HIV Infection Who Inject Drugs — United States, 2015–2017

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    During 2016, 6% of persons in the United States who received a diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection had their HIV infection attributed to injection drug use (1). Injection practices and sexual behaviors among HIV-positive persons who inject drugs, such as injection equipment sharing and condomless sex, can increase HIV transmission risk; nationally representative estimates of the prevalences of these behaviors are lacking. The Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) is an annual, cross-sectional survey that reports nationally representative estimates of clinical and behavioral characteristics among U.S. adults with diagnosed HIV (2). CDC used MMP data to assess high-risk injection practices and sexual behaviors among HIV-positive persons who injected drugs during the preceding 12 months and compared their HIV transmission risk behaviors with those of HIV-positive persons who did not inject drugs. During 2015-2017, approximately 10% (weighted percentage estimate) of HIV-positive persons who injected drugs engaged in distributive injection equipment sharing (giving used equipment to another person for use); nonsterile syringe acquisition and unsafe disposal methods were common. Overall, among HIV-positive persons who injected drugs, 80% received no treatment, and 57% self-reported needing drug or alcohol treatment. Compared with HIV-positive persons who did not inject drugs, those who injected drugs were more likely to have a detectable viral load (48% versus 35%; p = 0.008) and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors (p<0.001). Focusing on interventions that reduce high-risk injection practices and sexual behaviors and increase rates of viral suppression might decrease HIV transmission risk among HIV-positive persons who inject drugs. Successful substance use treatment could also lower risk for transmission and overdose through reduced injection.
  • Pubmed ID:
    31369525
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6677170
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