We analyzed baseline data from an observational cohort of HIV-infected ART-naïve patients in St. Petersburg, Russia to explore whether pain was associated with HIV risk behaviors. The primary outcomes were (1) unprotected vaginal or anal sex in the past 90 days and (2) sharing of needles or equipment in the past month. Secondary outcomes included: use of alcohol prior to sex, current injection drug use, number of unprotected sex and sharing episodes, and days injected in the past month. The main independent variable was any past week pain. Multivariable regression models were fit for outcomes. After adjustment, the association with unprotected sex was of borderline significance (AOR = 2.06; 95 % CI 0.98-4.36, p = 0.058); there was no significant association between any past week pain and sharing of needles/equipment (AOR = 1.52; 95 % CI 0.65-3.59, p = 0.33). Participants with pain had higher odds of reporting alcohol use prior to sex (AOR = 2.42; 95 % CI 1.10-5.28, p = 0.03).
Keywords: HIV; Pain; Risk behaviors.