Effect of Alcohol Use on Injection and Sexual Behavior among People Who Inject Drugs in Tehran, Iran: A Coarsened Exact Matching Approach

Mehdi Noroozi, Brandon D.L. Marshall, Alireza Noroozi, Bahram Armoon, Hamid Sharifi, Mostafa Qorbani, Mohammad Abbasi, Mohammad Rafi Bazrafshan


Background: Many studies have recognized the importance of sexual and injection risk behaviors in HIV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID). We aimed to examine effect of alcohol use on sexual and injection risky behavior using coarsened exact matching (CEM) approach among PWID in Tehran, Iran.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: This study was conducted from Mar to Aug 2016 in Tehran, Iran. PWID were recruited by a convenience and snowball sampling from five of Drop-in Centers (DICs) in Tehran. We assessed three outcomes of interest, all treated as binary variables, including distributive and receptive sharing and inconsistent condom use with any type of sexual partner. We applied coarsened exact matching (CEM) to estimate the independent effect of alcohol use on injection and sexual risk behaviours. All data analysis was performed using Stata v.11.

Results: Overall, 550 PWID (all male) were enrolled. The prevalence of receptive sharing, distributive sharing, and inconsistent condom use was 32%, 15% and 55%, respectively. In the matched samples, last month drinkers were more likely to report receptive sharing (OR=2.12 95% CI: 1.31, 3.81; P=0.022), as compared to abstainer participants. Distributive sharing in last 30 d, was also significantly higher among last month drinkers group (OR=2.72 95% CI 1.72, 4.21; P=0.011), compared last month abstainers group. Finally, there was a statistically significant relationship between alcohol use and inconsistent condom use (OR=4.21 95% CI: 2.71, 7.52; P=0.013).

Conclusions: The findings emphasize importance of addressing alcohol use in risk reduction interventions for Iranian PWID with alcohol use.


Alcoholism; Injections; Sexual behavior; Drug users; Iran

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