The influence of Drug Abuse on HIV infection among youths in Kawempe Division
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The study focused on the influence of drug abuse on HIV infection among the youths in Kawempe Division. It was based on objectives namely; to establish the relationship between drug abuse and increased risk to HIV infection among youths in Kawempe Division, to find out the relationship between health service provision and HIV prevention among youths who abuse drugs and to find out the attitude of drug abusers towards HIV/AIDS protective measures. The study was explanatory in nature and employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It used a sample size of 50 respondents which included youths (both drug users and non-drug users, male and female and health and social workers. The primary respondents were selected using stratified random sampling whereas purposive sampling was used to reach the key informants. Interview and self-administered questionnaires were used to gather primary data whereas document review was used for collection of secondary data. The findings revealed that majority of the respondents confirmed that condom use impediment and reduction in self-control as a result of intoxication were the major ways through which drug abuse related to HIV infection thus major intermediate factors whereas increase in sex libido and limited accessibility to health services among youths who abused drugs were the other ways identified by the respondents. The findings further indicated drug abuse to a greater extent influence sexual behavior of the youths through inhibiting their self-control, decision making and esteem therefore unprotected sex and a multiple number of sexual partners. The findings further indicated a relationship between health service provision and HIV infection among drug users since the availability and accessibility of services like counseling, awareness programs and condoms would mitigate the risk of HIV infection and vice versa. Condoms, HIV testing and counseling, medical care/ drugs and HIV awareness programs were all known and available in their areas. However, fear of persecution, stigmatization and discrimination were the individual barriers to accessibility of the health services whereas negative attitude of drug users by the health personnel were institutional barriers all of which made access of the services very difficult. Conclusively, need to adequately train health services, education of youths especially drug users about HIV/AIDS protection and preventive measures as well as engaging youths in vocational training to both reduce unemployment and idleness that trigger drug use and therefore expose youths to HIV infection were the recommendations by the study.