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Female Sexual Partners of Injection Drug Users in Vietnam Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

January 13, 2011

HIV prevalence among injection drug users in Vietnam is approximately 30 percent, a factor driving the nation's epidemic. "Most IDUs are sexually active and may infect their female sexual partners (SPs)," the authors wrote, adding, "Male dominance in sexual decisions is deeply embedded in Vietnamese culture." Although SPs represent "an important potential bridging population," few HIV prevention interventions have targeted them.

The current study discusses findings from a baseline survey of SPs conducted in 2008 in Hanoi, where peer-based HIV prevention interventions for this population now are being implemented. HIV prevalence among the Hanoi SPs was 14 percent, according to the survey, and only 27 percent of the women reported condom use with their primary male partner at least half the time.

Despite the fact that 69 percent of the SPs were in a serodiscordant relationship or did not know their partner's status, condom use was no more frequent among these couples than among those whose HIV status was concordant. Many SPs said they were afraid to provoke their partner by requesting condom use. This was even more likely to be true in the case of serodiscordant or unknown status relationships. Limited prior access to HIV prevention services was reported by the SPs.