Men, women and HIV

March 19, 2001

Injection drug use has been recognized as one of the major routes of HIV transmission. However, in a cohort of injection drug users in Montreal, Julie Bruneau and colleagues determined sex-related differences in risk behaviour could have implications for the development of preventive and clinical interventions.

The authors report that needle-sharing with a person known to be HIV positive (odds ratio [OR] for men 2.44, 95% CI 1.29-7.13) and needle-sharing in the past 6 months (OR for men 0.61, 95% CI 0.44-0.85; OR for women 0.32, 95% CI 0.14-0.73) were independently associated with HIV infection. Among men, sexual orientation, preference for cocaine over heroin, frequency of injection drug use, and obtaining needless at a pharmacy or through a needle exchange program were major risk factors. Among women, other variables were obtaining needles at shooting galleries and failing to participate in a treatment program.

In a related commentary, Patricia Spittal and Martin Schechter tell one woman's story to illustrate how issues such as physical abuse, commercial sex work, drug use, vulnerability and despair can result in HIV infection.
Sex-specific determinants of HIV
infection among injection drug users in Montreal
-- J. Bruneau et al
Contact: Dr. Eduardo Franco, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal; tel 514 398-6032

Injection drug use through the lens of gender
-- P.M. Spittal, M.T. Schechter
Contact: Dr. Martin Schechter, Department of Epidemiology, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver; tel 604 822-3910

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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