Journal article

Substance abuse and HIV risk behaviours amongst primary health care service users in Cape Town

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Ward C., Mertens J., Flisher A., Bresick G., Sterling S., Distiller G., Weisner C.

Publisher: In House Publication P.O.Box 412748, Craighall 2024, Johannesburg, Tel: 011 788 9139 Fax: 011 788 9136 E-mail:

Publication year: 2005

Journal: African Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) (South African Psychiatry Review)

Journal name: South African Psychiatry Review

Volume number: 8

Issue number: 4

Start page: 160

End page: 165

Total number of pages: 6

ISSN: 1811-7805



Objective: To document prevalence of, and association between, substance use and HIV risk behaviours among primary care patients. Method: Cross-sectional survey. Four primary care clinics in Cape Town. We selected clinics using stratified sampling, and systematically selected 131 patients from attendance logs. We assessed substance use with the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test, and HIV risk with items addressing injection drug use, blood-sharing rituals, and sexual risk behaviours. Results: Substances most used at hazardous levels were tobacco (28.2%) and alcohol (14.8%). Among possible HIV risk factors, highest prevalence was participation in blood-sharing rituals (25%), and having had an STI (19.8%). An association between substance use and sexual risk behaviours was only found among those aged 18-24. Conclusion: In younger patients, presence of substance use or HIV risk behaviours increases the probability that the other is present.


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Substance abuse

Last updated on 2019-07-03 at 13:26