High-Risk Behaviors in Women Who Use Crack: Knowledge of HIV Serostatus and Risk Behavior

Toye H. Brewer, Wei Zhao, Lisa R. Metsch, Amanda Coltes, Jonathan Zenilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether crack cocaine-using women who are aware of their HIV serostatus have made modifications in risk behaviors, we compared known HIV-positive (HIV+) and HIV-negative (HIV-) users with respect to sexual risk behaviors, prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and vaginitis, and correlates of unprotected sex. Methods: We used a cross-sectional design with street outreach, recruitment, and interviews of sexually active crack cocaine using women. Women received testing for HIV, STIs, and vaginitis. Results: Sixty-one HIV+ and 117 HIV- women were enrolled. HIV+ women were significantly more likely to be African-American. There were no significant differences in drug use, types of sexual partners, number of paying partners, attitudes regarding condoms, or STI diagnoses. HIV+ women were less likely to engage in unprotected sex compared with HIV- women (56% vs. 75%, adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13-0.99). Among HIV+ women, unprotected sex was negatively associated with stronger beliefs regarding the protective value of condoms (AOR, 0.07; 95% CI, 0.01-0.67) and concurrent injection-drug use (AOR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.99). Conclusions: Although the majority of crack using HIV+ crack using women in this sample continued to engage in high-risk sexual activities, they were less likely to do so than HIV- women. Interventions targeting this population are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Crack Cocaine
  • HIV Infection
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Sexual Behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Risk Behaviors in Women Who Use Crack: Knowledge of HIV Serostatus and Risk Behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this