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Ann Epidemiol. 2007 Jul;17(7):533-9. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

High-risk behaviors in women who use crack: knowledge of HIV serostatus and risk behavior.

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Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.



To determine whether crack cocaine-using women who are aware of their HIV serostatus have made modifications in risk behaviors, we compared known HIV-positive (HIV+) and HIV-negative (HIV-) users with respect to sexual risk behaviors, prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and vaginitis, and correlates of unprotected sex.


We used a cross-sectional design with street outreach, recruitment, and interviews of sexually active crack cocaine using women. Women received testing for HIV, STIs, and vaginitis.


Sixty-one HIV+ and 117 HIV- women were enrolled. HIV+ women were significantly more likely to be African-American. There were no significant differences in drug use, types of sexual partners, number of paying partners, attitudes regarding condoms, or STI diagnoses. HIV+ women were less likely to engage in unprotected sex compared with HIV- women (56% vs. 75%, adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13-0.99). Among HIV+ women, unprotected sex was negatively associated with stronger beliefs regarding the protective value of condoms (AOR, 0.07; 95% CI, 0.01-0.67) and concurrent injection-drug use (AOR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.99).


Although the majority of crack using HIV+ crack using women in this sample continued to engage in high-risk sexual activities, they were less likely to do so than HIV- women. Interventions targeting this population are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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