Edvard Stanko, Sergey Igumnov
Abstract. The objective of the study was to explore clinical, psychological and social characteristics of female injectable opioid users (FIOUs) with different HIV status living in Republic of Belarus. Materials and methods. A cohort of 217 FIOUs were examined (104 HIV-positive and 113 HIV-negative patients. To assess patient social functioning, quality of life, and craving for narcotic substances the Scale of social functioning, SF-36 and Scale of drugs craving were used. Results. The majority of patients had frequent change of employment place and reported absence from work (25.9% in HIV-positive group and 26.5% in HIV-negative group; P>0.05). HIV-positive patients reported low professional qualification and education level significantly more often than HIV-negative patients (20.1% vs 13.2%, p<0.05, and 43.3% vs. 36.2%, p<0.05, respectively). They also characterized family climate as “hostile” more often (80.7% vs. 61.0%, p<0.05). Both groups reported high rates of parental alcohol abuse (17.3% in HIV-positive and 14.1% in HIV-negative individuals, p>0.05), and of parental divorces (23.1% and 28.3%, p>0.05, respectively). Conclusion. Female injectable opioid users have marked social disfunction involving social and professional domains. Specific needs of this group of mental healthcare users need to be addressed.