A tale of two cities: HIV risk behaviours among injecting drug users in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Abu S. Abdul-Quader, Vu Minh Quan, Kevin O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to describe and highlight HIV drug risk behaviours among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Using a cross-sectional design 470 IDUs (Hanoi, n = 302; Ho Chi Minh City, n = 168) were recruited and interviewed by trained interviewers. The IDUs in Ho Chi Minh City were older, more likely to be employed and less likely to be single than those in Hanoi. History of injecting also varied: on average, IDUs in Ho Chi Minh City had been injecting longer (17 years in Ho Chi Minh City compared with 3 years in Hanoi). Three-quarters of the IDUs injected at least once a day and a similar proportion had their last injections administered by someone else. Eighty-two per cent had seen and/or read something on HIV/AIDS and 73% mentioned to have initiated risk reduction; however, no significant difference was found between two cities. Even though there is a significant difference between IDUs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in terms of certain risk behaviours, the IDUs in both cities continue to expose themselves to HIV infection. In addition, no significant difference was observed between the IDUs in these two cities in terms of initiating HIV risk reduction, even though prevention programmes were implemented in Ho Chi Minh City earlier than in Hanoi. The presence of high-risk behaviours and absence of any meaningful risk reduction among IDUs in both cities indicate the need for intensive targeted intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-407
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Asia
  • Injecting drug use and HIV risk
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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