Background: With HIV prevalence estimated at 20% among female injecting drug users (IDUs) in St. Petersburg, Russia, there is a critical need to address the HIV risks of this at-risk population. This study characterized HIV risks associated with injecting drug use and sex behaviors and assessed the initial feasibility and efficacy of an adapted Woman-Focused intervention, the Women's CoOp, relative to a Nutrition control to reduce HIV risk behaviors among female IDUs in an inpatient detoxification drug treatment setting.
Method: Women (N = 100) were randomized into one of two one-hour long intervention conditions--the Woman-Focused intervention (n = 51) or a time and attention-matched Nutrition control condition (n = 49).
Results: The results showed that 57% of the participants had been told that they were HIV-positive. At 3-month follow-up, both groups showed reduced levels of injecting frequency. However, participants in the Woman-Focused intervention reported, on average, a lower frequency of partner impairment at last sex act and a lower average number of unprotected vaginal sex acts with their main sex partner than the Nutrition condition.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that improvements in sexual risk reduction are possible for these at-risk women and that more comprehensive treatment is needed to address HIV and drug risks in this vulnerable population.