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Use and Perceptions of Opioids versus Marijuana among People Living with HIV

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Objectives: In this study, we examined use of and interest in using opioids and marijuana, particularly in relation to use motives and perceived barriers to use, among people living with HIV (PLWH). Methods: We analyzed online survey data from 304 PLWH in the United States recruited via social media in Summer 2018. Results: In this sample (Mage = 30.86, 40.5% male, 64.5% white), 16.1% reported current (past 30-day) use of opioids, 18.1% marijuana, and 15.8% both. Participants reported more use motives and fewer barriers to using marijuana versus opioids (p's < .001). The most frequently endorsed motive for using either/both drugs were to cope with pain and stress/anxiety. Highest-rated barriers to using either/both drugs were missing symptoms of worsening illness and addiction concerns. Regression analyses indicated that current opioid use correlated with reporting greater opioid use motives; among past-month opioid nonusers, greater interest in using opioids correlated with greater opioid use motives. Current marijuana use correlated with reporting greater marijuana use motives and greater barriers; among past-month marijuana nonusers, greater interest in using marijuana correlated with greater marijuana use motives and fewer barriers. Conclusions: Use motives and barriers differentially correlated with use and interest in use across drugs, thereby indicating different intervention approaches to address appropriate use.
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Keywords: HIV; MARIJUANA; OPIOID; PATIENT PERSPECTIVES; SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Jessica M. Potts, Student, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States 2: Betelihem Getachew, Project Coordinator, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States 3: Milkie Vu, Doctoral Student, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States 4: Eric Nehl, Associate Research Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States 5: Katherine A. Yeager, Associate Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States 6: Carla J. Berg, Professor, Department of Preventive and Community Health, Milken School of Public Health, George Washington Cancer Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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