The purpose of this study was to examine the (a) prevalence of and (b) association between alcohol, risky sex, and HIV among Russians at risk for primary or secondary HIV transmission.
Electronic databases were searched to locate studies that sampled Russians, assessed alcohol use, and included either a behavioral measure of risk or a biological measure of HIV. Weighted mean (logit) effect sizes were calculated using random-effects assumptions. Moderator analyses were conducted using meta-regression.
Studies (19) sampled 12,916 Russians (M age = 29; 36 % women). Participants were recruited from clinical (52 %; e.g., sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic, drug treatment), other high-risk community settings (32 %; e.g., sexual/drug networks), or both (16 %). Findings indicate that a substantial proportion of the participants used alcohol (77 %; 55 % heavy drinking). One half of participants reported using condoms (52 %), but only 29 % used condoms consistently. Most participants reported drinking before sex (64 %). Of the studies testing for HIV, 10 % of participants tested positive. Meta-regression analyses indicated that hazardous/harmful alcohol use was associated with increased risky behaviors (i.e., multiple partners, inconsistent condom use).
These findings support the need for and potential benefit of addressing alcohol use in HIV prevention programming in Russia.