HIV Seroconversion: Puerto Rico vs. NYC

Researchers at N.D.R.I., Inc. in New York City and the Universidad Central del Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico, have prepared a new report on HIV and AIDS in Puerto Rico. The report, “Disparities in HIV Prevention Services, Infection Rates and Mortality: A Comparison of Drug Users in Puerto Rico and New York”, presents the main findings of a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded study conducted from 1996 to 2004. The study compared the HIV-related risk behaviors and infection rates of 800 Puerto Rican drug users in East Harlem, N.Y. with 399 of their counterparts in Bayamón, P.R. The study found that drug users in Puerto Rico seroconverted (became HIV positive) at a rate almost four times higher than Puerto Rican drug users in New York, and they died at a rate that was more than three times as high. Drug users in Puerto Rico were more likely to engage in high risk injection and sex practices, and had substantially fewer HIV prevention resources available to them than drug users in New York. Moreover, the capacity of drug treatment programs in Puerto Rico declined by over one-third during the study period. The study (1 R01 DA010425) was conducted by Drs. Sherry Deren, Principal Investigator (NDRI) and Rafaela Robles, Co-Investigator (Universidad Central del Caribe).

September, 2004