Adults with Prescription-Opioid Dependence Engage in High Rates of HIV Risk Behaviors
Heroin users, particularly those who engage in injection drug use (IDU), are well known to be at increased risk for HIV infection. Less is known about the risk behaviors of those who abuse prescription opioids. Researchers compared data on HIV risk behaviors obtained via interview from persons seeking detoxification treatment for heroin (n=27) or oxycodone (n=23) dependence at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Demographic characteristics were similar between groups.
- Patients who used oxycodone reported more days of use in the past 30 days than patients who used heroin and were more likely to report marijuana use (13% versus 2%).
- None of the patients using oxycodone engaged in IDU, while 89% of the patients using heroin did.
- Past-month rates of sexual activity (68%), unprotected intercourse (47%), sex while intoxicated (51%), and sex with strangers (18%) were similar between groups; however, patients who used oxycodone were more likely to report having multiple partners (30% versus 4%).
- Patients who used oxycodone were also less likely to report having an HIV test in the past year (33% versus 71%).