Demographic, medical history and sexual correlates of HIV seropositive methadone maintained women

J Addict Dis. 1993;12(4):105-20. doi: 10.1300/J069v12n04_08.


Beginning in January 1989, consecutive female admissions to the ARTC MMTP Clinics in NYC were interviewed about their medical, drug, sexual and social experiences during 6 distinct historical years. Bloods were drawn and each sample tested for HIV via ELISA and Western Blot analysis. The data for 256 females was analyzed. The sample was predominantly Black (56%) and Hispanic (36%). Fifty-four percent (140) were between the ages of 31 and 40; 35% (91) were between the ages of 18 and 30; and 10% (27) were 41 or older. The majority, 179 (69%), had less than a high school education, while 79 (31%) had a high school education or greater. The seropositivity for this sample of females was 60.4%. Aside from the common types of illnesses often seen in gay men infected with the HIV virus (i.e., pneumonia, night sweats, sore throat and swollen glands) our sample of females presented with symptoms such as abnormal discharges from the vagina, infections or abscesses of the veins, kidney or bladder infections, bleeding from the bowels and hepatitis infections. The most commonly reported risk factors among our sample of HIV positive females were sharing injecting materials (38%); injecting drugs in the veins (37.2%); dividing an injection (24.3%); and blood transfusions (10.9%). Of our HIV positive females, 42 of 97 (43.3%) reported having sex with a man they shared needles with only one time so that having sex with a man who is potentially infected with the HIV virus only once may be enough for a female to seroconvert. One limitation of this data is that there is no knowledge of when the HIV positive women seroconverted. Some of the behaviors reported could be due to exposure to AIDS education, and not to the knowledge to their HIV serostatus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Blotting, Western
  • Demography
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • Health Promotion
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needle Sharing
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health


  • Methadone