Taxonomy of Caribbean tourism alcohol venues: implications for HIV transmission

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Sep 1;132(1-2):238-43. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Mar 9.


Background: Tourism areas represent ecologies of heightened HIV vulnerability characterized by a disproportionate concentration of alcohol venues. Limited research has explored how alcohol venues facilitate HIV transmission.

Methods: We spatially mapped locations of alcohol venues in a Dominican tourism town and conducted a venue-based survey of key informants (n=135) focused on three facets of alcohol venues: structural features, type of patrons, and HIV risk behaviors. Using latent class analysis, we identified evidence-based typologies of alcohol venues for each of the three facets. Focused contrasts identified the co-occurrence of classes of structural features, classes of types of patrons, and classes of HIV risk behavior, thus elaborating the nature of high risk venues.

Results: We identified three categories of venue structural features, three for venue patrons, and five for HIV risk behaviors. Analysis revealed that alcohol venues with the greatest structural risks (e.g. sex work on-site with lack of HIV prevention services) were most likely frequented by the venue patron category characterized by high population-mixing between locals and foreign tourists, who were in turn most likely to engage in the riskiest behaviors.

Conclusion: Our results highlight the stratification of venue patrons into groups who engage in behaviors of varying risk in structural settings that vary in risk. The convergence of high-risk patron groups in alcohol venues with the greatest structural risk suggests these locations have potential for HIV transmission. Policymakers and prevention scientists can use these methods and data to target HIV prevention resources to identified priority areas.

Keywords: Alcohol venues; Dominican Republic; HIV transmission; Latent cluster analysis; Tourism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Caribbean Region / epidemiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Condoms
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Dominican Republic / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data
  • Transsexualism
  • Travel / classification*
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data