Similarities and differences by race/ethnicity in changes of HIV seroprevalence and related behaviors among drug injectors in New York City, 1991-1996

Samuel R. Friedman, Tim F. Chapman, Theresa E. Perlis, Russell Rockwell, Denise Paone, Jo L. Sotheran, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To measure differences and similarities in the prevalence of HIV infection and of related risk and protective behaviors among New York City black, white, and Hispanic drug injectors during a period of decreasing HIV prevalence. Methods: Drug injectors were interviewed at a drug detoxification clinic and a research storefront in New York City from 1990 to 1996. All subjects had injected drugs within the last six months. Phlebotomy for HIV testing was conducted after pretest counseling. Analysis compares the first half (period) of this recruitment interval with the second half. Results: HIV seroprevalence declined among each racial/ethnic group. In each period, white drug injectors were significantly less likely to be infected than either blacks or Hispanics. Similar declines were found in separate analyses by gender, length of time since first injection, and by recruitment site. After adjustment for changes in sample composition over time, blacks and Hispanics remained significantly more likely to be infected than whites. Interactions indicate that the decline may be greatest among Hispanics and slowest among blacks. A wide variety of risk behaviors declined in each racial/ethnic group; and syringe exchange use increased in each group. Few respondents reported injecting with members of a different racial group at their last injection event. Conclusions: HIV prevalence and risk behaviors seem to be falling among each racial/ethnic group of drug injectors. Black and Hispanic injectors continue to be more likely to be infected. Declining prevalence among whites poses some risk of politically based decisions to reduce prevention efforts. Overall, these results show that risk reduction can be successful among all racial/ethnic groups of drug injectors and suggest that continued risk reduction programs may be able to attain further declines in infection rates in each group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


  • Drug users
  • Ethnicity
  • HIV
  • IDUs
  • Race
  • Risk behaviors
  • Seroprevalence
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Similarities and differences by race/ethnicity in changes of HIV seroprevalence and related behaviors among drug injectors in New York City, 1991-1996'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this