condom and AIDS ribbonCocaine and heroin use may alter how sexually active partners view condom use in a relationship setting. Based on the results of a study, published in the journal Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, condom use shows a lack of intimacy and trust and HIV status is determined based on appearance rather than negative HIV testing.

Researchers interviewed 48 participants for the study. The majority of participants were between 20 and 39 years old and had used IV drugs in the past. Eight percent of participants were HIV positive.

Interviewees claimed condom use was most often associated with a means of disrespecting your partner. Condom use was also viewed as a block between affection and intimacy. Moreover, HIV status was often determined based on physical factors like cleanliness and perceived physical health.

Risk assessment for HIV-status in sexual partners is often based on look rather than test results in IV drug users. Condom use is also viewed as a negative action in respective relationships. Further education regarding importance of HIV testing and condom use is needed in this population.

Source: Bernstein E, Ng V, McCloskey L, Vazquez K, Ashong D, Stapleton S, Cromwell J, Bernstein J. Qualitative analysis of cocaine and heroin users' main partner sex-risk behavior: is safety in love safety in health? Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2013 Apr 23;8(1):10.