Substance abuse and HIV risk behaviours amongst primary health care service users in Cape Town

  • Catherine L Ward Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Jennifer R Mertens Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Alan J Flisher Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Graham F Bresick School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Stacy A Sterling Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA, USA
  • Greg B Distiller Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Constance M Weisner Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, USA

Abstract

Objective: To document prevalence of, and association between, substance use and HIV risk behaviours among primary care patients.

Method: Cross-sectional survey. Four primary care clinics in Cape Town. We selected clinics using stratified sampling, and systematically selected 131 patients from attendance logs. We assessed substance use with the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test, and HIV risk with items addressing injection drug use, blood-sharing rituals, and sexual risk behaviours.

Results: Substances most used at hazardous levels were tobacco (28.2%) and alcohol (14.8%). Among possible HIV risk factors, highest prevalence was participation in blood-sharing rituals (25%), and having had an STI (19.8%). An association between substance use and sexual risk behaviours was only found among those aged 18-24.

Conclusion: In younger patients, presence of substance use or HIV risk behaviours increases the probability that the other is present.

Keywords: substance abuse, HIV risk behaviours, primary care

South African Psychiatry Review Vol. 8(4) 2005: 160-165
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Articles

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eISSN: 1994-8220