Formative Research

Selected initial findings from the VENUS Study:

  • HIV+ IDUs qualitatively reported increased drug use, isolation, depression, and risk behavior when first diagnosed HIV+.
  • HIV+ IDUs described participation in formal and informal peer education and support to other HIV+ drug users.
  • Half of the participants who had a main sex partner reported that partner’s status as HIV- or HIV unknown.
  • Unlike HIV+ MSM, HIV+ IDUs do not seem to significantly decrease their sexual risk taking behaviors with HIV negative/unknown status partners when compared to HIV+ partners.
  • Sexual risk was driven by a need to preserve intimacy in relationships, power dynamics within the drug-sex economy, and lack of skills toward HIV disclosure.
  • Almost all IDUs in this sample reported access to and utilization of HIV care, but many verbalized difficult barriers to consistent utilization and medication taking.
  • Women were less likely than others to be taking HAART when indicated by self-reported Viral Load or CD4 cell count.

Please see the slide presentation from Kelly Knight at the Second Annual CAPS Conference: Addressing HIV Prevention in Context.

Last modified: January 20, 2011