Methamphetamine (meth) use is a continuing problem in the United States and is associated with increased risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, few studies have examined the meth use/STI risk association among women.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of women attending public sexually transmitted disease clinics in Los Angeles County, California, from 2009 to 2010. Routinely collected clinic intake data were used to compare the prevalence of meth use among women with different demographics/sexual behaviors. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify predictors of meth use.
There were 1.4% (n = 277) women who reported meth use, with a mean age of 29 years. Prevalence was highest among Whites and those reporting both male and female partners. Most women who reported meth use also reported polysubstance use. In a multivariable model controlling for age, race/ethnicity, condom use, having a new sex partner, and other illicit substance use, women who reported sex with an injection drug user were nearly 10 times more likely to report meth use as compared with those who did not (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 9.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.86–16.75). Other factors associated with meth use included sex with a recently incarcerated partner (AOR, 3.24; 95% CI, 2.16–4.86), anonymous partner (AOR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.54–4.04), and transactional sex (AOR, 3.26; 95% CI, 1.69–6.32). Women who tested positive for chlamydia/gonorrhea were 1.48 times more likely to use meth as compared with those who did not.
Female meth users have high-risk behaviors that could increase their risk for STIs/HIV.