Alcohol use patterns predict high-risk HIV behaviors among active injection drug users

Michael D. Stein, Lucy Hanna, Ranjini Natarajan, Jennifer Clarke, Margaret Marisi, Mindy Sobota, Josiah Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine if alcohol use is independently associated with needle-sharing behavior. Participants were 196 active injection drug users recruited into the Providence, Rhode Island Needle Exchange program between July 1997 and March 1998. All subjects were administered a 45-minute questionnaire that included questions on quantity/frequency of alcohol use and the alcohol abuse section of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID; Spitzer, Williams, Gibbon, and First, 1992). Drug risk behaviors, including needle sharing were assessed using the HIV Risk Assessment Battery (RAB; Navaline et al., 1994). Of 196 IDUs, 60% had used alcohol in the last month. Twenty-eight percent met criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 3rd ed., rev. (DSM-III-R; American Psychiatric Association, 1987) for alcohol abuse over the last 6 months. One half of IDUs had shared needles in the last 6 months. Increasing levels of alcohol ingestion were associated with greater RAB drug risk scores and greater needle sharing. Using multiple logistic regression, high-level 'at-risk' alcohol use (odds ratio [OR], 2.5) and alcohol abuse (OR, 2.3) were significantly associated with needle sharing when controlling for other demographic and behavioral factors previously found to be associated with sharing. The results of this study showed that prevalence of alcohol abuse is high in this population and is associated with needle sharing. HIV prevention effects in needle exchange programs should address alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-363
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • HIV
  • Needle exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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