Perceived risk for severe outcomes and drinking status among drug users with HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Jennifer C. Elliott, Deborah S. Hasin, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective Among drug users with HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections, heavy drinking can pose significant risks to health. Yet many drug users with HIV and HCV drink heavily. Clarifying the relationship of drug-using patients' understanding of their illnesses to their drinking behavior could facilitate more effective intervention with these high-risk groups. Method Among samples of drug users infected with HIV (n = 476; 70% male) and HCV (n = 1145; 81% male) recruited from drug treatment clinics, we investigated whether patients' perceptions of the risk for severe outcomes related to HIV and HCV were associated with their personal drinking behavior, using generalized logit models. Interactions with co-infection status were also explored. Results HIV-infected drug users who believed that HIV held highest risk for serious outcomes were the most likely to be risky drinkers, when compared with those with less severe perceptions, X2(6) = 14.19, p < 0.05. In contrast, HCV-infected drug users who believed that HCV held moderate risk for serious outcomes were the most likely to be risky drinkers, X2(6) = 12.98, p < 0.05. Conclusions In this sample of drug users, risky drinking was most common among those with HIV who believed that severe outcomes were inevitable, suggesting that conveying the message that HIV always leads to severe outcomes may be counterproductive in decreasing risky drinking in this group. However, risky drinking was most common among those with HCV who believed that severe outcomes were somewhat likely. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of these associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Drinking
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Perceived risk
  • Severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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