Sexually transmitted infections, sexual risk behaviors and the risk of heterosexual spread of HIV among and beyond IDUs in St. Petersburg, Russia

Eur Addict Res. 2008;14(1):19-25. doi: 10.1159/000110407. Epub 2008 Jan 7.


Aims: This study investigates whether sexual transmitted behaviors and infections (STIs) among injection drug users (IDUs) may promote the spread of HIV among and beyond IDUs in Russia.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of behavior and tested for STIs in a convenience sample of 159 IDUs in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Results: The median age was 27 and 57% were male. Almost all were sexually active, half had casual partners and 40% reported > or =2 sex partners in the previous 3 months. Of those who answered, 81% reported sex without condoms, 44% reported having sex with at least one partner who was not an IDU. Of 139 (87%) subjects who were actively injecting, 29% reported receptive syringe sharing. Twenty percent of subjects were seropositive for HIV-1 and 42% of HIV-1-negative subjects tested positive for an STI.

Conclusions: The sample exhibited high levels of sexual risk behaviors and STIs, and a large proportion had sexual partners who were not IDUs. This population requires comprehensive interventions that ensures access to condoms and sterile injection supplies and that encourage safer sexual behaviors in an attempt to keep sexual transmission of HIV low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needle Sharing / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population