Prevalence and correlates of substance use among youth living with HIV in clinical settings

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Dec 1;169:11-18. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 11.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to better understand the prevalence and correlates of substance use behaviors among HIV-infected adolescents in HIV care settings.

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 2216 youth living with HIV (YLWH; ages 12-26) were recruited through the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV Interventions. Participants completed a one-time survey on sociodemographic factors, substance use and health behaviors. We used logistic regression models to understand the correlates of substance use outcomes.

Results: Overall, weekly or more frequent tobacco use was reported by 32.9% of participants, 27.5% marijuana use, and 21.3% alcohol use; and 22.5% reported any other illicit drug use. In multivariable models, young MSM had higher odds of reporting each substance use behavior, and transgender women had increased odds of marijuana and other illicit drug use. Criminal justice involvement, unstable housing, condomless sex, and suboptimal antiretroviral therapy was associated with increased risk of substance use behaviors.

Conclusions: Study findings highlight the need for regular screening for substance use in HIV care settings in order to improve access to and delivery of culturally competent substance use prevention and treatment services.

Keywords: HIV; Substance use; Youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Unsafe Sex
  • Young Adult