Background: Many women in Russia rely on abortion as a primary birth control method. Although refusal to use contraceptives, including condoms, may undermine public health efforts to decrease HIV sexual risk behaviors, few studies have investigated the risk factors associated with abortion among women at high risk for HIV. This study sought to identify the correlates of abortions and of lack of condom use among high risk STD clinic patients in St Petersburg Russia.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected between 2009 and 2010 from women who had casual or multiple sexual partners in the previous three months was analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression assessed the independent correlates of abortion(s) and no condom use in the prior three months. Independent variables included socio-demographics, at risk drinking per alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT-C) criteria, having sex after drinking alcohol, having a sexual partner who injects illicit drugs, and parity.
Results: Of 87 participants, 45% had an abortion in their lifetime and 26% did not use condoms in the prior three months. Abortion was independently associated with low income (OR, 3.33, 95%CI, 1.13-9.78) and at risk drinking (OR, 3.52, 95%CI, 1.24-10.05). Lack of condom use was independently associated with being more likely to have sex after drinking (OR, 3.37, 95%CI, 1.10-10.28) and parity (OR, 3.69, 95%CI, 1.25-10.89).
Conclusions: Programs to increase contraceptive use including condom use among women at high risk for STD/HIV in Russia are needed. Programs to reduce sexual HIV risk and abortion rates must address alcohol misuse and target women with limited income.