Chikovani, I., Goguadze, K., Bozicevic, I., et al. AIDS and Behavior (June 2013), Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 1906-1913.
The authors described HIV risk behaviors among 1,112 men who inject drugs in five Georgian cities through a cross-sectional and respondent-driven sampling methodology. They found that male people who inject drugs (PWID) who have multiple heterosexual partnerships tend to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors. Occasional sexual relationships were common among married PWID. Among 661 male PWID who reported occasional and paid sex partners in the previous year, the prevalence of inconsistent condom use was 64 percent. Most (72 percent) of the PWIDs who were inconsistent condom users had never been tested for HIV, and 75 percent also reported having regular partners. More than half reported having five or more sexual partners. While the majority did not practice high-risk injection behaviors, only 19 percent reported receiving condoms from HIV prevention programs. Multivariate analysis showed that predictors of unprotected sex with occasional and paid sex partners included: not having a regular sexual partner; risky injection behavior; residence in Telavi; and drug type (i.e., buprenorphine injectors were less likely to engage in risk behaviors than heroin injectors). Those who reported high-risk injection behaviors had increased odds of inconsistent condom use. Although the majority of interventions for PWID target unsafe injection behaviors, it is critical to increase focus on creating integrated programs to reduce risky sexual behaviors among PWID in Georgia.