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People living with HIV who inject or have injected non-prescription drugs: Evidence of substantial differences in health inequalities and experiences of clinical care

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posted on 2023-10-26, 01:08 authored by Thomas NormanThomas Norman, Jennifer PowerJennifer Power, Brent Clifton, Joel Murray, Adam BourneAdam Bourne
Introduction: This study investigates differences in health and well-being associated with current, past or no injecting drug use (IDU) among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia, identifying key health care considerations between injecting experiences. Methods: Data were extracted from the HIV Futures 9 study; a survey of PLHIV conducted in 2018–2019. Chi-square and analysis of variance analyses compared clinical and treatment characteristics, major physical and mental comorbidities, sexually transmitted infection diagnoses, and quality of life for those who reported current (last 12 months), past (12+ months ago) or no IDU. Results: Current IDU (n = 106) was associated with higher rates of sexually transmitted infection testing and diagnoses, higher frequency of self-reported antiretroviral therapy non-adherence due to drug use and greater social quality of life than past (n = 126) or no IDU (n = 508; total N = 740). Past and current IDUs were associated with more mental illness diagnoses and self-reported concern about drug use. Past IDU was associated with more physical comorbidities, lower satisfaction with clinical care and greater difficulty in affording health care than current or no IDU. Discussion and Conclusions: Past and current IDUs are associated with unique health concerns. However, past IDU appears to be related to greater dissatisfaction in navigating health care than individuals with current IDU experience. Higher social connection and the types of services being accessed by individuals who currently inject may play a role in shaping service satisfaction. Peer-based interventions to help support individuals in accessing services that are affirming of their needs is an ongoing priority.


This study is fully funded by the Australian Department of Health.


Publication Date



Drug and Alcohol Review






12p. (p. 1517-1528)





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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

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