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Am J Public Health. 1994 March; 84(3): 382–387.
PMCID: PMC1614821

The trading of sex for drugs or money and HIV seropositivity among female intravenous drug users.


OBJECTIVES. Data from 538 women in a cohort study recruited in 1988-1989 were analyzed to determined whether trading sex for drugs or money was independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seroprevalence in a population of female intravenous drug users. METHODS. The women were grouped according to the number of partners with whom they reported trading sex for drugs or money during the previous 10 years: none, 1 through 49 (low), or 50 or more (high); the prevalence of HIV seropositivity in the three groups was 23.2%, 23.7%, and 47.6%, respectively. Logistic regression was used to compare the low- and high-trade groups separately with the group that reported no trading. RESULTS. Low trading was not associated with seroprevalent HIV infection. In a multivariate model, high trading (compared with no trading) was significantly associated with HIV seropositivity after adjustment for cocaine use, history of sexually transmitted diseases, and duration of intravenous drug use. CONCLUSIONS. These data indicate that, among intravenous drug-using women, high levels of trading sex for drugs or money were independently associated with HIV infection. This group needs to be targeted for further intensive intervention.

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