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Methamphetamine Use Among Women Attending Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics in Los Angeles County

Stahlman, Shauna MPH*; Javanbakht, Marjan PhD*; Stirland, Ali MBChB; Guerry, Sarah MD; Gorbach, Pamina M. DrPH*

doi: 10.1097/01.OLQ.0000430801.14841.75
Original Study

Background 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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.

Conclusions Female meth users have high-risk behaviors that could increase their risk for STIs/HIV.

A study of female clients at sexually transmitted disease clinics in Los Angeles, California, found that women who use methamphetamine have high-risk sexual behaviors that could increase their risk for sexually transmitted infections/HIV.

From the *Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles CA; and †Division of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease Programs, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA

Source of funding: This research was supported by funds from the UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program and the California HIV/AIDS Research Grants Program Office of the University of California, Grant No. ID09-LA-012.

Conflicts of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Shauna Stahlman, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, University of California Los Angeles, Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772. E-mail:

Received for publication January 08, 2013, and accepted April 30, 2013.

© Copyright 2013 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association