4101.1: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 8

Abstract #5575

Substance use patterns after testing HIV-positive: A mixed picture

Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH1, Caroline L. Kerner, BA1, Lisa Sullivan, PhD2, and Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH1. (1) School of Medicine, General Internal Medicine Research Unit, Boston University, 91 East Concord Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02118, (617)414-7399, jliebs@bu.edu, (2) School of Public Health, Boston University, 111 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215

Objective: We examined the effect of testing HIV-positive on drug use patterns in a cohort of HIV-infected drug-dependent persons (n=144). Methods: We examined substance use patterns pre- and post-HIV testing, and drug abuse treatment prior to HIV-testing. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were generated to examine drug use patterns before and after testing HIV-positive. Results: Subject characteristics included: 81% male, 43% Black, 30% White, 22% Hispanic; mean age 42. Testing HIV-positive was associated with the following substance use patterns immediately after testing: of the 129 cocaine users, 19% decreased or stopped, 44% did not change, 37% increased their use; of the 91 heroin users, 11% decreased or stopped, 54% did not change, 35% increased their use. Of those who changed cocaine or heroin use, 90% and 83%, respectively, attributed it to the HIV diagnosis. At a mean of 27 months after testing HIV-positive, 51% of subjects entered recovery. HIV-testing within three months of detoxification was associated with increased use of cocaine (p=0.007) and heroin (p=0.001). Testing HIV-positive was not associated with change in substance use for subjects testing while hospitalized, or within 3 months of using NA/AA, half-way house, outpatient and methadone programs. Conclusions: Just after testing HIV-positive, half of all drug dependent persons appeared to alter drug use patterns, with a trend toward increased use. Eventually half of the subjects entered recovery. Protocols for HIV testing in drug dependent persons should consider this population's particularly high risk for relapse and increased drug use.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this oral or poster presentation, the learner will understand patterns of drug-addiction after testing HIV-positive

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Drug Addiction

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA