Sale of sex for drugs and drugs for sex: an economic context of sexual risk behavior for STDs

Sex Transm Dis. 1999 Sep;26(8):444-9. doi: 10.1097/00007435-199909000-00005.


Background and objectives: Persons who participate in behaviors such as drug use and buying or selling sex are at elevated risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STD)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Goals: To describe the economic structure supporting drug use and the buying and selling of sex services in two urban Houston communities.

Study design: Residents of two Houston communities participated in street-intercept interviews to obtain information on sex and drug use behaviors.

Results: Many members of the population reported having bought or sold sex. A history of crack use significantly predicted the trading of sex for money and drugs, and sellers of sex were more likely to have engaged in recent high-risk sexual behavior than those who had never sold sex.

Conclusion: The data are suggestive of an underground economy for the exchange of sex for drugs or money, the existence of which facilitates the spread of STDs in high-risk communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / economics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Urban Health