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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2003 Jun 1;33 Suppl 2:S229-32.

Late-onset crack users: an emergent HIV risk group.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


This article explores late-onset crack use among midlife and older adults as an emerging risk factor for HIV infection. Most research on illicit drug use and HIV infection/AIDS has focused on younger drug users, typically those who inject. The initiation into crack use during later adulthood challenges this narrow view. The analysis the authors present was drawn from qualitative and quantitative data collected as part of their ongoing research on illicit drug use. The subsample consisted of 27 men who began using crack at the age of 50 or older and 40 women who started using crack at the age of 35 or older. The findings suggest a typology of late-onset users with differing forms of HIV risk and prevention needs. The authors end the article with recommendations for effective HIV risk reduction programs for late-onset crack users.

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