HIV and Drug Use in Puerto Rico: Findings from the ARIBBA Study

Milton Mino, Sherry Deren, Hector M. Colón

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper presents findings from the Alliance for Research in El Barrio and Bayamón (ARIBBA) research study, which compared HIV-related risk behaviors, HIV infection rates, and mortality rates of 800 Puerto Rican injection drug users and crack smokers in East Harlem, New York, with 399 of their counterparts in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. The study was conducted from 1996 to 2004 and is among the most comprehensive ever undertaken on HIV risk behaviors of drug users in Puerto Rico. This paper presents the main findings, many of which have been published in scientific journals. The study found that drug users in Puerto Rico became infected with HIV at a rate almost 4 times higher than Puerto Rican drug users in New York, and they died at a rate that was more than 3 times as high. The findings indicate that drug users in Puerto Rico are more likely than Puerto Rican drug users in New York to engage in injection drug use and sexual behaviors that put them at risk of becoming infected with HIV. In addition, they have fewer prevention resources available to them. HIV prevention programs are scarce in Puerto Rico and the availability of drug treatment programs in Puerto Rico declined by over one third during the period examined. Additionally, significantly fewer HIV-positive drug users in Puerto Rico were taking HIV-related medications than in New York. The paper concludes with recommendations and lessons learned from the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-259
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Puerto Ricans
  • Puerto Rico
  • drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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