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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Jan 1;113(1):76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.07.011.

Crystal methamphetamine use among female street-based sex workers: Moving beyond individual-focused interventions.

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British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Given growing concern of the sexual risks associated with crystal methamphetamine use and the dearth of research characterizing the use of methamphetamine among street-based sex workers (FSWs), this study aimed to characterize the prevalence and individual, social, and structural contexts of crystal methamphetamine use among FSWs in a Canadian setting. Drawing on data from a prospective cohort, we constructed multivariate logistic models to examine independent correlates of crystal methamphetamine among FSWs over a two-year follow-up period using generalized estimating equations. Of a total of 255 street-based FSWs, 78 (32%) reported lifetime crystal methamphetamine use and 24% used crystal methamphetamine during the two-year follow-up period, with no significant associations between methamphetamine use and sexual risk patterns. In a final multivariate GEE model, FSWs who used crystal methamphetamine had a higher proportional odds of dual heroin injection (adjOR=2.98, 95%CI: 1.35-5.22), having a primary male sex partner who procures drugs for them (adjOR=1.79, 95%CI: 1.02-3.14), and working (adjOR=1.62, 95%CI: 1.04-2.65) and living (adjOR=1.41, 95%CI: 1.07-1.99) in marginalized public spaces. The findings highlight the crucial need to move beyond the individual to gender-focused safer environment interventions that mediate the physical and social risk environment of crystal methamphetamine use among FSWs.

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