Health care utilization and risk behaviors among HIV positive minority drug users

Sung Yeon Kang, Marjorie F. Goldstein, Sherry Deren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared health care utilization and HIV-related risk behaviors between HIV-infected African American (n=123) and Hispanic (n=97) drug users recruited in New York City. African Americans were more likely to use crack, while Hispanics were more likely to use heroin and speedball. African Americans were more likely than Hispanics to report having traded sex for drugs or money. The two groups did not significantly differ in HIV care utilization (e.g., taking HIV medications). In multiple logistic regression analyses, for African Americans, taking HIV medications was significantly related to enrollment in HIV clinics and non-use of crack, while for Hispanics, being married and attending HIV support groups were significant factors. Drug treatment enrollment was significantly related to non-use of crack and injection drug use among African Americans, and a trend (p=.07) was found between injection drug use and drug treatment enrollment among Hispanics. The findings indicate the continuing need for harm reduction programs for HIV positive drug using populations. Programs for these populations should also take into account the different risk behaviors among different racial/ethnic groups, in order to tailor culturally sensitive programs for HIV care and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Drug use
  • Health care utilization
  • Minority groups
  • Risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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