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Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Nov;132(5):837-46.

Racial/ethnic differences in HIV-1 seroprevalence and risky behaviors among intravenous drug users in a multisite study.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Differences in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) seroprevalence and patterns of drug-use and sexual behaviors were examined among Hispanic, black, and white intravenous drug users recruited at multiple sites in Worcester, Massachusetts. A total of 1,092 (786 males, 306 females) intravenous drug users were interviewed, and HIV-1 antibody test results were available for 874 (80.0%). After adjustment for demographic differences, black males were significantly less likely to report risky drug-use behaviors (ever sharing needles and recently visiting shooting galleries) compared with white males. In contrast, Hispanic males were significantly more likely to report recent risky drug-use behaviors (sharing needles in New York City, daily needle-sharing, and visiting shooting galleries). Both groups were less likely to report risky sexual behaviors compared with whites. The odds ratios for HIV-1 seropositivity remained significantly greater than 1 for Hispanics compared with whites (odds ratio = 4.5) and maintained marginal significance for blacks compared with whites (odds ratio = 2.1) when adjusted for risky behaviors and demographic variables. The different patterns of drug-use and sexual behaviors by race/ethnicity indicate the need for interventions targeted to specific populations.

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