Is cannabis use associated with HIV drug and sex risk behaviors among Russian HIV-infected risky drinkers?

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Sep 1;132(1-2):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.01.009. Epub 2013 Feb 11.


Background: While cannabis use has been associated with increased HIV drug and sex risk behaviors, its impact on risk behaviors among HIV-infected individuals has not yet been established.

Methods: This study examined data from Russian HIV-infected risky drinkers enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of a behavioral intervention. The primary independent variable was cannabis use (current [past 30 days use], recent past [use but not in past 30 days] vs. no past year use). Primary outcomes were needle sharing and number of unprotected sexual episodes. Secondary outcomes were drug injection, number of injections, and multiple sex partners. Longitudinal regression analyses controlled for age, gender, marital status, education, CD4 count, ART use, risky alcohol use, other drug use, depressive symptoms and randomization group.

Results: Cannabis use was common with 20% current and 26% recent past use at baseline. In longitudinal analyses current, but not recent past, cannabis consumption was significantly associated with needle sharing (AOR 2.23 current vs. none, 95% CI: 1.46, 3.36), drug injection (AOR 3.05 current vs. none, 95% CI: 2.06, 4.53) and number of injections (adjusted IRR 1.50 current vs. none, 95% CI: 1.19, 1.89). Current and recent past cannabis use were significantly associated with multiple sex partners but not with number of unprotected sex episodes.

Conclusion: Cannabis use was associated with drug and sex risk behaviors among Russian HIV-infected risky drinkers. Inquiry about cannabis use among HIV-infected patients may reveal a patient group at higher risk for sex and drug use behaviors that lead to HIV transmission.

Keywords: Cannabis use; Drug risk behavior; HIV; Russia; Sex risk behavior.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Sexual Partners
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult