The life priorities of HIV-seropositive injection drug users: findings from a community-based sample

AIDS Behav. 2003 Dec;7(4):395-403. doi: 10.1023/b:aibe.0000004731.94734.77.


Using cross-sectional data from an ethnically diverse sample of 161 HIV-seropositive injection drug users (IDUs), we investigated (1) how HIV-positive IDUs rank their life priorities, (2) whether HIV prioritization (defined as whether or not ranking HIV as a top priority) is associated with risk behaviors, and (3) potential correlates of HIV prioritization. HIV was ranked as the most important priority by 37% of the participants. Among those who did not rank HIV as the top priority, housing, money, and safety from violence were particularly salient priorities. Those who gave the highest priority to HIV were less likely to have unprotected vaginal sex with primary partners who were HIV negative or of unknown serostatus, were less likely to split drugs with a used syringe, and used fewer numbers of injection drugs. HIV prioritization, however, was not associated with sex risk behaviors with nonprimary partners and HIV-positive primary partners. Significant correlates of HIV prioritization included age and the use of a heroin/stimulant mixture. These findings provide a number of important implications for HIV prevention intervention research for HIV-positive IDUs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology*
  • Health Priorities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Research Design
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Support
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*