Objective: To describe the frequency of being partnered and having an HIV-negative partner, and whether this differed by gender, among a cohort of persons living with HIV (PLWH) who have ever injected drugs; to describe awareness of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and perceived partner interest in PrEP.
Setting: Secondary analyses of an observational cohort study of PLWH who have ever injected drugs in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Methods: Primary outcomes were 1) being partnered and 2) being in a serodiscordant partnership. The main independent variable was gender. Multivariable GEE logistic regression models were fit for binary outcomes, adjusted for age, income, education, and recent opioid use. Descriptive analyses were performed for partners' HIV status, substance use, sex risk behaviors, and awareness of PrEP for a subset of participants.
Results: At baseline, 50% (147/296) reported being in a partnership, and of those, 35% were in a serodiscordant partnership. After adjustment, women had significantly higher odds of being partnered compared to men (aOR = 3.12; 95% CI: 1.77, 5.51), but there were no significant gender differences in the odds of being in a serodiscordant partnership (aOR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.27, 1.24). Among a sub-sample of participants queried (n = 56), 25% were aware of PrEP for prevention of sexual HIV transmission and 14% for prevention of injection-related transmission.
Conclusion: Although half of our sample were partnered and one third of these partnerships were serodiscordant, PrEP awareness was low. Substantial opportunities for HIV prevention exist among PLWH who have ever injected drugs in Russia and their HIV-negative partners. Given the high proportion of HIV-negative partners among this ART-naïve sample, efforts to address the associated inherent risks, such as couples-based interventions, are needed to increase condom use, PrEP awareness, or uptake of other HIV-prevention modalities (e.g., ART for the HIV-positive partner).