Impact of AIDS on Puerto Rican Intravenous Drug Users

Meryl Sufian, Samuel R. Friedman, Alan Neaigus, Bruce Stepherson, Joyce Rivera-Beckman, Don Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines HIV risk for Hispanics, particularly Puerto Ricans who are intravenous (IV) drug users. First, national statistics on AIDS cases as well as major epidemiological studies are analyzed to establish risk, in general, for Hispanics. There are epidemiological differences when the authors compare ethnic minority groups to whites in the incidence of the disease, the relative importance of transmission routes, and the length of survival once the disease is diagnosed. The authors report on risk behaviors and risk reduction based on the preliminary findings from a project which targets IV drug users and their sexual partners for interventions aimed at AIDS risk reduction in New York City. The subjects, Puerto Rican, Black and white men and women, are recruited off the street and have used drugs in the past six months. The findings suggest that Puerto Rican IV drug users are at substantial risk for AIDS both through their drug use and their sexual behaviors. Since Puerto Rican PVdrug users are particularly likely to inject drugs frequently and in high-risk ways, an urgent case can be made for culturally sensitive intervention programs that are aimed at reducing the risk of HIV transmission among them and their sexual partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-134
Number of pages13
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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