The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3248.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 2

Abstract #71837

¢She said, he said¢: Drug-using womenís perceived versus actual HIV risk from primary male partners

Stephanie Tortu, PhD1, James M. McMahon, PhD2, Enrique R. Pouget2, and Rahul Hamid, MA2. (1) School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2301, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-4535, stortu@tulane.edu, (2) National Development and Research Institutes, 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010

Background: Monogamy is often advised as a strategy for HIV prevention, provided both partners remain uninfected. To insure safety in a monogamous relationship, women must know their partnerís risk profile. This study compared drug using womenís perceptions of their partnerís HIV risk profile with their partnerís self-reported risk behaviors and HIV test results. Methods: In East Harlem, NY, 269 crack, cocaine or heroin using women and their primary male partners were recruited for this cross-sectional study and interviewed separately. All were offered counseling and testing for HIV. Results: Of those women consenting to HIV testing, 55/246 (22.4%) were seropositive. Among uninfected women, 172/191 (90%) correctly identified their male partnerís HIV serostatus (17 HIV+; 155 HIV-). Among 174 seronegative women who reported their partner as uninfected or who did not know their partnerís serostatus, 12 (7%) had HIV+ partners. Among 29 male-positive/female-negative couples, 72% (21/29) reported unprotected sex in the past 30 days (mean vaginal/anal sex acts = 17.4, S.D.=18.3). Of 162 seroconcordant HIV-negative couples, 64 male partners (40%) reported HIV risk behaviors outside the relationship. Conclusions: Although most women knew their partnerís HIV serostatus, a substantial proportion of uninfected women were unaware of their partnerís HIV infection. Because the majority of HIV-negative women with infected partners engaged in unsafe sex with them, monogamy will not help these women avoid disease. Issues associated with disclosure of HIV serostatus within heterosexual relationships need further investigation. Drug using women and their partners also need to address behavioral risks outside the relationship.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

Sexual Health in a Social Context

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA