Psychosocial and Demographic Correlates of Drug Use in a Sample of HIV-Positive Adults Ages 50 and Older

Daniel E. Siconolfi, Perry N. Halkitis, Staci C. Barton, Molly J. Kingdon, Rafael E. Perez-Figueroa, Vanessa Arias-Martinez, Stephen Karpiak, Mark Brennan-Ing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of HIV among adults 50 and older in the USA is increasing as a result of improvements in treatment and detection of HIV infection. Substance use by this population has implications for physical and mental health outcomes. We examined patterns of demographics, mental health, and recent substance use in a diverse sample of heterosexual, bisexual, and gay adults 50 and older living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in New York City. The most commonly used substances were cigarettes or alcohol; however, the majority of the sample did not report recent use of marijuana, poppers, or hard drugs (crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, and LSD or PCP). Statistically significant associations between substance use and psychological states (well-being and loneliness) were generally weak, and depression scores were not significantly related to use; instead, drug use was associated with gender/sexual orientation. The study observations support addressing substance use specific to subpopulations within PLWHA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-627
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Aging
  • Mental health
  • Substance use
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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