Skip to main content

Alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors among HIV-infected hospitalized patients in St. Petersburg, Russia


Krupitsky, Evgeny M.; Horton, Nicholas J.; Williams, Emily C.; Lioznov, Dmitri; Kuznetsova, Maria; Zvartau, Edwin E.; & Samet, Jeffrey H. (2005). Alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors among HIV-infected hospitalized patients in St. Petersburg, Russia. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 79(2), 251-256.



Russia has high per capita alcohol consumption and an injection-drug-use-driven HIV epidemic. However, the role of alcohol in the spread of HIV infection in Russia is largely unexplored. Thus, we assessed recent alcohol use and associated HIV risk behaviors among HIV-infected persons in St. Petersburg, Russia.

We recruited HIV-infected hospitalized patients from the Botkin Infectious Disease Hospital between June 2001 and March 2002. Interviewers assessed alcohol and drug use with the addiction severity index (ASI) and sex- and drug-risk behaviors with the risk assessment battery (RAB). Lifetime abuse or dependence diagnoses for alcohol and drugs were established by a physician with addiction medicine training.

Among 201 subjects, diagnoses of abuse or dependence (AB/DEP) were common: 9% (19/201) had only alcohol AB/DEP; 39% (78/201) had alcohol and drug AB/DEP; 47% (95/201) had only drug AB/DEP; and 4% (9/201) had no diagnosis of alcohol or drug AB/DEP. Sex- and drug-risk behaviors varied significantly by substance use diagnosis. Subjects with any alcohol AB/DEP had higher sex-risk RAB scores than those with drug only AB/DEP (6.1 versus 3.9, p < .0001). Among subjects with any diagnosis of drug AB/DEP, having in addition an alcohol diagnosis was associated with unclean needle use in the last six months (33% (26/78) versus 21% (20/95), p = 0.08).

Lifetime alcohol diagnoses of abuse or dependence were present in nearly one-half of hospitalized HIV-infected patients in St. Petersburg, Russia and were associated with significantly higher sex-risk behaviors and borderline significantly higher drug-risk behaviors. As HIV infection spreads rapidly in Russia and Eastern Europe, these data support the need for HIV risk-reduction interventions in alcohol abusing populations and raise the potential of benefit by addressing alcohol use in HIV-infected populations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Krupitsky, Evgeny M.
Horton, Nicholas J.
Williams, Emily C.
Lioznov, Dmitri
Kuznetsova, Maria
Zvartau, Edwin E.
Samet, Jeffrey H.