, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 153-162

Comparison of General and Detailed HIV Risk Assessments Among Methamphetamine Abusers

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Investigators have long focused on refining the accuracy of HIV risk assessment. One concern is that HIV risk measures either cover general risk behaviors or assess a few specific behaviors. We compared a standardized general measure (Risk for AIDS Behavior, RAB) and a recently developed behaviorally detailed measure (Behavioral Questionnaire-Amphetamine, BQA) in three samples of methamphetamine-dependent individuals in drug treatment in Southern California (76 gay men, 57 heterosexual men, and 33 heterosexual women). Our results indicate that RAB depicted gay men at significantly higher risk than either heterosexual men or women. However, RAB Total score failed to discriminate between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected gay men. By contrast, BQA discriminated between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men as measured by significantly more instances of unprotected anal receptive intercourse. General measures, e.g., RAB, may have utility for describing broad risk factors across heterogeneous groups of substance users. More detailed measures, e.g., BQA, may be necessary for distinguishing behavioral risk differences within high-risk populations such as substance-abusing gay men.