Hiv-risk Behavior among non-heroine using cocaine injetors and non-injectors in São Paulo, Brazil
John Dunn and Ronaldo R. Laranjeira
The aim of this study was to investigate HIV-risk behaviour among cocaine users in relation to preferred route of administration and to relate this to reported HIV serostatus. Two hundred and ninety-four patients were interviewed in 15 different services that offer treatment, assistance or counselling to drug users and/or HIV positive patients using a structured questionnaire that had been developed and piloted in Brazil. At the time of interview lifetime use of snorted cocaine was 94%, of smoked crack 82% and of injected cocaine 32%. Twenty-eight percent described themselves as HIV positive, 32% as negative and 40% were unaware of their status. Non-injectors tended to be younger, had used fewer substances, had spent less time using cocaine, were less likely to have had sex with other drug users or to have been tested for HIV. Non-injectors had high levels of contact with injectors. Those reporting a positive HIV result were older, had used more classes of drugs, had used cocaine for longer and were more likely to have injected and participated in at-risk behaviours. The findings are discussed in terms of policy changes that may be necessary to reduce the high level of risk behaviour among Brazilian cocaine users.