Drug use is a major risk factor in spreading HIV infection. Drug users (DUs) might trade sex for drugs or for money to buy drugs and/or vice versa. Drug use can reduce a person’s commitment to use condoms and practise safer sex. Often, substance users have multiple sexual partners. This increases their risk of becoming infected with HIV or another STI. Therefore, changing drug-related behaviours contributes to eradication of transmission of HIV.
A behaviour change (BC) model, which directly address BCs than merely conducting awareness/training workshops was implemented in Negombo, a tourist destination located in west coast of Sri Lanka where dwellers are vulnerable for drug use and sex trade. BC intervention tools used included low-cost community camps, group, ex-user and one-to-one discussions, brainstorming sessions to demystify myths about drug use and HIV while strengthening target groups. Conducted a rapid situation and response analysis, prior to commencing interventions. Interventions concentrated more on 10 specific spots in Negombo. 350 DUs, their families, peers, 170 regular sex partners (RSP) including commercial sex workers (CSW), and neighbours were targeted through interventions.
As a result, of BC model 80 quitted drug use, 59 reduced use, 29 changed their behaviours, 21 work as peer educators, 37 directed to STD clinics. 59 relapsed. The interventions with RSP resulted in following; 32 supported DUs to quit, 35 were educated on safer sex practises, 13 requested for condoms.
BC model resulted in BCs in DUs, RSP, families and in their localities going beyond awareness and education. DUs and RSPs reduced individual risk behaviours, promoted and practised safer sex practises (ex: condom use), motivated to get medical assistance for symptoms and suspected exposure to STDs and if engaged in risky behaviour, to be tested. Changing behaviours related to drug use itself results in HIV risk reduction and prevention.
- behavior change
- Drug use
- HIV KL01,