Objective: To compare a sample of injecting cocaine users and crack users, assessing sexual behavior, risk for infection by HIV and its seroprevalence.
Method: 109 injecting cocaine users and 132 crack users were assessed, using the World Health Organization questionnaire from the expanded "Cross-Site Study of Behaviors and HIV Seroprevalence among Injecting Drug Users" and HIV serology. Data were assessed by Multiple Correspondences Analysis.
Results: Crack users showed less time of drug consumption when compared to the injecting cocaine users. Despite this fact, they had higher rates of risky sexual activity, differences in poli-consumption of drugs, and higher rates of involvement in illegal issues. HIV seroprevalence among crack users, although lower than for injecting cocaine users (7% vs. 33%) is high when compared to the general population at the same age.
Conclusions: Sexual behavior of crack users in the studied sample may be considered a risk factor for HIV infection. Crack users have access to information on HIV/ AIDS, but do not make use of it to change risk behaviors that may expose them to HIV infection and dissemination. HIV seroprevalence among crack users (7%) is concerning, which makes it necessary to create preventive strategies for HIV infection and dissemination that are specifically directed toward this population.