Safe sex? Misconceptions, gender differences and barriers among injection drug users: A focus group approach

S. H. Weiss, C. Betts Weston, J. Quirinale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heterosexual transmission is one factor involved in the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within the injection drug use (IDU) population and between IDU and non-IDU individuals. Insufficient information is currently available to reduce this heterosexual transmission. As a basis for designing a questionnaire aimed at the IDU population, we conducted 5 focus groups to collect information on knowledge of and attitudes toward safe sex as held by male and female IDUs in methadone treatment. We identified misconceptions related to HIV infection, condoms, and sexual behavior. We also found gender-based differences in knowledge and learning style. Also, while individuals felt a responsibility to prevent HIV transmission, they lacked sufficient control to do so. The wide range of responses on questions concerning sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), condoms, reproductive decisions, and methods of promoting safe sex provides a basis for developing a questionnaire designed to identify and target specific subgroups for educational intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-293
Number of pages15
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Volume5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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