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Prof Psychol Res Pr. 2007 Oct 1;38(5):518-522.

Addressing HIV Risk Behavior Among Pregnant Drug Abusers: An Overview.

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Brown University Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital.


Both sex- and drug-related HIV risk behavior are common among pregnant drug abusers. In the absence of intervention, these behaviors are likely to continue throughout pregnancy, placing the women and their unborn children at risk of contracting HIV. Drug treatment programs have been found to have limited impact on these behaviors. Although certain drug risk behaviors have been shown to decrease during drug treatment, sex-related risk behavior remains largely unaffected. Similarly, knowledge- and skill-based HIV risk reduction interventions have demonstrated modest efficacy. Therefore, there is a need to develop new interventions that directly target sex- and drug-related HIV risk behavior among pregnant drug abusers, taking advantage of a period in the women's lives in which the potential negative consequences of risk behavior are more significant given the possible impact on their unborn children and in which there may be a heightened desire to make healthier behavior choices. Recent work suggests that a promising new direction for the field may be incorporating motivational interviewing components into traditional HIV risk reduction interventions, which focus on providing HIV risk information and building sex- and drug-related HIV risk reduction skills.

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