Sexual HIV risk behaviors in a treatment-refractory opioid-dependent sample

R. Kathryn McHugh, Meara Weitzman, Steven A. Safren, Heather W. Murray, Mark H. Pollack, Michael W. Otto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The propensity to engage in risk behaviors confers an elevated risk of HIV and other infectious disease transmission in opioid-dependent populations. Although drug abuse treatment may decrease drug-related risk behaviors such as needle-sharing, additional intervention may be needed to reduce HIV risk behavior. In this investigation, we assessed sexual HIV risk behaviors in opioid-dependent patients who were engaging in regular drug use despite ongoing counseling and methadone maintenance therapy. Potential risk and protective factors for engaging in sexual HIV risk behavior were examined. Taking into account demographic, psychiatric, substance use, and psychological variables, the only significant predictor of risk behavior was age. Specifically, younger patients were more likely to engage in sexual HIV risk behavior. The implications of these results for reducing sexual HIV risk behavior and for HIV prevention in methadone-maintained, treatment-refractory opioid-dependent patients are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-242
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of psychoactive drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Hiv
  • Methadone
  • Opioids
  • Risk behaviors
  • Substance dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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