In many urban neighbourhoods in the United States, drug markets borne from disadvantage have produced risk for sexually transmitted infections through altered sexual norms and partnerships. Presently, we examined the association of race, sexual partnerships with men involved with drugs, and self-reported sexually transmitted infections among 240 African American and white women aged 18-30 years. Thirty seven per cent reported ever having a sexually transmitted infection. Almost 30% of Whites reported sex with a drug user, compared to 5% of African Americans. Fifty eight per cent of African Americans compared to 31% of Whites reported sex with a drug dealer. On Step 1 of a sequential logistic regression model, race was associated with lifetime sexually transmitted infections (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 2.61-8.34). Results from the full sequential logistic regression model indicated a significant, but smaller association of race and lifetime sexually transmitted infections (Adjusted OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.78-7.02) and an association of sex with a drug dealer and lifetime sexually transmitted infections (Adjusted OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.55-5.20). Forming sexual partnerships with drug dealers may place women at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections and explain racial disparities. More research focused on drug dealers as core transmitters is needed.
Keywords: Race/ethnicity; United States; core transmitters; drug dealers; drugs; sexual partnerships; sexual risk behaviour; sexually transmitted infections; women.
© The Author(s) 2015.