Drug Abuse Treatment and Risky Sex

Evidence for a Cumulative Treatment Effect?

Published in: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, v. 24, no. 3, Aug. 1998, p. 439-451

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1997

by Douglas L. Longshore, Shih-chao Hsieh

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This paper presents evidence regarding the possibility of a cumulative effect of drug-abuse treatment on reducing risky sexual behavior among individuals entering drug-abuse treatment in the United States from 1991-1993 and participating in the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS). Analyses were done of the relationship between lifetime treatment exposure and risky sex by drug users during the year before intake into DATOS. Analyses controlled for age, drug-use severity, criminal history, antisocial conduct disorder, and other factors that might have confounded the relationship between treatment exposure and risky sex. Results indicated that users with more lifetime treatment exposure had lower scores for risky sex. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that successive episodes of treatment may have long-term cumulative effects on drug users' HIV-risk behavior.

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