People Who Use Drugs
Participants eligible for inclusion in our cohort study were current or former drug users (injecting and non-injecting) aged 18 years and above, who had been diagnosed with HIV within five years of the date of the interview or people who are HIV negative with a last negative test within 12 months of the date of the interview.
All participants were recruited either from Treatment Teams in the north and central regions of Portugal or from two hospitals in Porto: the infectious diseases unit of a large general hospital, Hospital São João and an infectious diseases hospital, Hospital Joaquim Urbano.
At baseline, we have interviewed 303 users, 80 (26%) HIV positive and 223 (74%) HIV negative, 84% of whom (187/223) had had a negative test in the preceding 12 months.
The aims of our study were to identify which factors are continuing to drive the epidemic and how these differ between HIV positive and HIV negative drug users. With this cohort, we will also be able to examine factors associated with progression of e.g. HIV to AIDS which will also help us build a clearer picture of the epidemic in this risk group. This study will provide information that can be used to modify public health strategies and policies.