Severe Anxiety Symptomatology and HIV Risk Behavior Among Hispanic Injection Drug Users in Puerto Rico
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- Reyes, J.C., Robles, R.R., Colón, H.M. et al. AIDS Behav (2007) 11: 145. doi:10.1007/s10461-006-9090-x
Despite an overall decrease in AIDS incidence in Puerto Rico, our studies continue to show high prevalence of HIV risk behaviors among injection drug users (IDUs). This study seeks to evaluate whether the occurrence of injection-related and sex-related HIV risk behaviors among IDUs in Puerto Rico varies with the presence of anxiety symptomatology. Subjects included 557 IDUs, recruited from street settings in poor neighborhoods in Puerto Rico. Symptoms of severe anxiety were reported by 37.1% of the study sample. Participants with severe anxiety symptoms were more likely to share needles, cotton, and rinse water; to pool money to buy drugs; and to engage in backloading, than those without severe anxiety symptoms. Participants with severe anxiety symptomatology were also more likely to practice unprotected vaginal or oral sex. The findings from this study alert HIV prevention and treatment programs to the need to address anxiety disorders within their programs.