This chapter presents the results of two related exploratory, qualitative studies on drug use and HIV risk conducted in the cities of Managua and Chinandega, Nicaragua between 2002 and 2005. The objectives of this research were to: identify methods of reaching drug using populations in the country; provide an initial description of the patterns of drug use, emphasizing regional differences; explore the relationship between drug use and HIV transmission; and provide preliminary recommendations for the development of drug use and HIV prevention efforts and for future research directions. The study designs included ethnographic observation and interviews to assist in gaining entry into drug-using communities, in-depth interviews with drug users and traffickers (121) and focus groups (13) with sectors of the population likely to provide different perspectives on the research domains: health professionals working with high-risk behavior groups, female sex workers, gay men, university students, taxi drivers, injection drug users, and family members of drug users. Drug use, the availability of drugs and distribution were reported, and included: ubiquitous drug supplies; the involvement of all social strata; the impact of crack on drug-use patterns; concerns about use by children and youth; well-established local distribution mechanisms; group drug purchase and sharing, and (limited) needle use and equipment sharing. Sexual risks included unprotected sex with partners and sex for drugs and/or drug money. The lack of drug prevention education in the community and schools, and limited treatment resources were also reported. Conclusions highlight the need for public and policy acknowledgement and response regarding drug use, and the link between HIV/AIDS and drugs in the country.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)