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IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1885: Factors Associated with Substance Use and Sexual Behavior among Drug Users in Three Mountainous Provinces of Vietnam

31 Aug 2018

IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1885: Factors Associated with Substance Use and Sexual Behavior among Drug Users in Three Mountainous Provinces of Vietnam

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091885

Authors:
Bach Xuan Tran
Hue Thi Mai
Mercedes Fleming
Ha Ngoc Do
Tam Minh Thi Nguyen
Quan Hoang Vuong
Manh Tung Ho
Nhue Van Dam
Thu Trang Vuong
Giang Hai Ha
Nu Thi Truong
Carl A. Latkin
Cyrus S. H. Ho
Roger C. M. Ho

Due to their geographical characteristics, the mountainous areas of Vietnam are particularly vulnerable to illicit drug use. Drug users in remote areas are also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and characteristics of substance use and sexual behaviors and explored their related factors among newly admitted drug users in three mountainous provinces of Vietnam. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 300 newly-admitted drug users registering for Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) at 6 clinics in three provinces: Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Yen Bai from October 2014 to December 2015. Information about the socio-demographic characteristics, history of substance use, and sexual behaviors were collected. The multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify potential predictors of four outcomes, which included: drug injection, re-use of needles, using condoms during the last time of having sex, and having sexual intercourse with female sex workers. The proportion of injecting drug users was 68.3%; of those 9% never re-used needles. Of note, 69% of those who reported having sex with female sex workers in the last month did not use condoms. Regression models showed that those who injected drugs and had health problems in last 30 days had greater odds of having sex with female sex workers. Drug users in mountainous settings acknowledged the high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related risk behaviors and a demand for physical and psychological care. Scaling up MMT services is key to approaching this high-risk group; however, at the same time, comprehensive harm-reduction interventions, counseling, and health care services should also be made accessible and effective in this setting.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health