Changing patterns of cocaine use and hiv risks in the south of Brazil.

Inciardi JA, Surratt HL, Pechansky F, Kessler F, von Diemen L, da Silva EM, Martin SS.

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2006 Sep;38(3):305-10. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2006.10399856.

For well over a decade, researchers in Porto Alegre, Brazil, have been documenting the extent of the AIDS epidemic in the region, with a specific focus on the linkages between drug use and HIV seropositivity. Virtually all of the studies conducted during those years found injection drug use (IDU) to be the major vector for HIV seropositivity in this population. However, recent research found that the number of IDUs had declined significantly. Qualitative interviews and focus groups suggested many reasons for this decline: (1) many had died, because they had never heard of AIDS or HIV, and were unaware of how HIV is transmitted. As a result, they had become infected through the sharing of injection paraphernalia. (2) The quality of street cocaine had declined, making injection difficult. (3) Because of a fear of AIDS, some shifted to the smoking of crack, which had become a newly availability commodity in the street culture. Within this context, this article describes the qualitative data describing the decline of cocaine injecting and the corresponding emergence of crack use in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and related HIV risks.

PMID: 17165373

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.