Studies in North America and Western Europe have reported an association between hazardous drinking and HIV sexual risk behaviors among injection drug users (IDUs). However, we lack such studies from developing and transitional countries, where different cultural norms and contexts of drinking may change this association. We used a multi-site study using standard survey instruments and methods to examine whether hazardous drinking is associated with HIV sexual risk behaviors (defined as unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners) among IDUs in 12 cities across different developing and transitional countries. Data were collected from May 1999 to November 2003. In individual site analyses, hazardous drinking was associated with increased HIV risk behaviors in 10 cities. Mixed effects models of the multi-site data, also, showed an association of hazardous drinking and HIV sexual risk behaviors. These findings in the context of the high prevalence of drinking in many sites point to the importance of addressing alcohol use in HIV education and prevention policy for IDUs.
Hazardous drinking and HIV sexual risk behaviors among injection drug users in developing and transitional countries