To quantify potential bridging of HIV transmission between the injection drug using subpopulation to the non-injection drug using population through unprotected heterosexual sex.Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data.
A sub-sample of participants who reported having a permanent partner who are not injection drug users and have not injected drugs in the past (N=1379) was selected from a survey implemented in 26 Ukrainian cities in 2011. This study evaluates the association between consistent condom use and awareness of HIV status as measured by rapid testing during the study (known/unknown HIV+, known/unknown HIV- and undetermined) among a sub-sample of male injection drug users (IDUs) who have a non-injecting permanent partner. Poisson regression, with robust variance estimates, was utilized to identify associations while adjusting for other factors.
Reported consistent condom use varied between 15.5% (unknown HIV-) and 37.5% (known HIV+); average use was 19.3%. In multivariate analysis, males who were aware of their HIV+ status were more likely to report recent consistent condom use compared to those who were unaware of their HIV+ status. This association remains after adjustment for age, region, education level, years of injection, alcohol use, self-reported primary drug use and being an NGO client (prevalence ratio=1.65; 95% CI 1.03-2.64). No such association was found for those who were HIV-.
Our results regarding HIV-positive male IDUs reinforce previous findings that HIV testing and counselling may be an effective means of secondary prevention. Further research is needed to understand how to effectively promote safer sex behaviours for IDUs who are currently HIV-.