Gender differences in the prevalence and behavioral risk factors of HIV in South African drug users

Sarra L. Hedden, Damiya Whitaker, Leah Floyd, William W. Latimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


South Africa continues to be the global epicenter of HIV infection. Further, extensive gender disparities in HIV infection exist with females four times as likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS as males (UNAIDS, AIDS epidemic update, 2006; WHO, Epidemiological fact sheets on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, 2006). A cross-sectional collection of drug users recruited in the Pretoria region of South Africa (N = 385) was used to model HIV infection as a function of sexual risk behaviors and drug use as modified by gender. Receiving money from illicit sources and knowing someone with AIDS were loosely associated with HIV. Gender interactions were observed for age, cocaine use and condom use. Gender stratified analyses revealed that males who used condoms, were younger and tested negative for cocaine use were less likely to test positive for HIV. Findings suggest that males may have more control of risk behaviors and support the need for gender specific prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug abuse
  • Gender
  • HIV
  • Risk behaviors
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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