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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1885;

Factors Associated with Substance Use and Sexual Behavior among Drug Users in Three Mountainous Provinces of Vietnam

Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Vietnam Young Physician Association, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8 Dublin, Ireland
Youth Research Institute, Vietnam (YRI)—Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Vietnam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Center for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Thanh Tay University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Centre Emile Bernheim, Université Libre de Bruxelles, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Institute of Philosophy, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Faculty of Graduate Studies, National Economics University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Sciences Po Paris, Campus de Dijon, 21000 Dijon, France
Institute for Global Health Innovations, Duy Tan University, Da Nang 550000, Vietnam
Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore 119074, Singapore
Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore 119228, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 July 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Full-Text   |   PDF [308 KB, uploaded 31 August 2018]


Due to their geographical characteristics, the mountainous areas of Vietnam are particularly vulnerable to illicit drug use. Drug users in remote areas are also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and characteristics of substance use and sexual behaviors and explored their related factors among newly admitted drug users in three mountainous provinces of Vietnam. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 300 newly-admitted drug users registering for Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) at 6 clinics in three provinces: Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Yen Bai from October 2014 to December 2015. Information about the socio-demographic characteristics, history of substance use, and sexual behaviors were collected. The multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify potential predictors of four outcomes, which included: drug injection, re-use of needles, using condoms during the last time of having sex, and having sexual intercourse with female sex workers. The proportion of injecting drug users was 68.3%; of those 9% never re-used needles. Of note, 69% of those who reported having sex with female sex workers in the last month did not use condoms. Regression models showed that those who injected drugs and had health problems in last 30 days had greater odds of having sex with female sex workers. Drug users in mountainous settings acknowledged the high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related risk behaviors and a demand for physical and psychological care. Scaling up MMT services is key to approaching this high-risk group; however, at the same time, comprehensive harm-reduction interventions, counseling, and health care services should also be made accessible and effective in this setting. View Full-Text
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; risk behaviors; illicit drug users; methadone maintenance treatment HIV/AIDS; risk behaviors; illicit drug users; methadone maintenance treatment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tran, B.X.; Mai, H.T.; Fleming, M.; Do, H.N.; Nguyen, T.M.T.; Vuong, Q.H.; Ho, M.T.; Van Dam, N.; Vuong, T.T.; Ha, G.H.; Truong, N.T.; Latkin, C.A.; Ho, C.S.H.; Ho, R.C.M. Factors Associated with Substance Use and Sexual Behavior among Drug Users in Three Mountainous Provinces of Vietnam. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1885.

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