Differing HIV risks and prevention needs among men and women injection drug users (IDU) in the District of Columbia

Manya Magnus*, Irene Kuo, Gregory Phillips, Anthony Rawls, James Peterson, Luz Montanez, Tiffany West-Ojo, Yujiang Jia, Jenevieve Opoku, Nnemdi Kamanu-Elias, Flora Hamilton, Angela Wood, Alan E. Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Washington, DC has among the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the US. Gender differences among injection drug users (IDUs) may be associated with adoption of prevention opportunities including needle exchange programs, HIV testing, psychosocial support, and prevention programming. National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data on current IDUs aged ≥18 were collected from 8/09 to 11/09 via respondent-driven sampling in Washington, DC. HIV status was assessed using oral OraQuick with Western Blot confirmation. Weighted estimates were derived using RDSAT. Stata was used to characterize the sample and differences between male and female IDU, using uni-, bi-, and multivariable methods. Factors associated with HIV risk differed between men and women. Men were more likely than women to have had a history of incarceration (86.6 % vs. 66.8 %, p < 0.01). Women were more likely than men to have depressive symptoms (73.9 % vs. 47.4 %, p < 0.01), to have been physically or emotionally abused (66.1 % vs. 16.1 %, p < 0.0001), to report childhood sexual abuse (42.7 % vs. 4.7 %, p < 0.0001), and pressured or forced to have sex (62.8 % vs. 4.0 %, p < 0.0001); each of these differences was significant in the multivariable analysis. Despite a decreasing HIV/AIDS epidemic among IDU, there remain significant gender differences with women experiencing multiple threats to psychosocial health, which may in turn affect HIV testing, access, care, and drug use. Diverging needs by gender are critical to consider when implementing HIV prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Behavioral surveillance
  • Gender
  • HIV/AIDS prevention
  • IDU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Urban Studies


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