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HIV risk behaviors among young female drug users who have sex with women in New York City

Danielle C. Ompad, PhD1, Crystal Fuller, MPH, PhD2, Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH1, Sandra Del Vecchio1, and David Vlahov, PhD1. (1) Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies, New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029, 212-419-3589, dompad@nyam.org, (2) Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W. 168th Street, 4th floor, Room 422, New York, NY 10032

Objective: To examine the distribution of HIV risk factors among young drug using women who have sex with women (WSW) compared to women who have sex with men only (WSMO) drug users in New York City. Methods: Female drug (heroin, crack and cocaine) users aged 15-40 years old were recruited into a community-based study. Risk behaviors were assessed using interviewer-administered surveys. Logistic regression was used to identify differences in the distribution of risk behaviors reported at baseline among WSW compared to WSMO. Results: Among 311 female drug users, 41% were Hispanic, 40% were black and 19% were white/other ethnicity. 69.5% identified as heterosexual, 21.5% as bisexual, and 8.7% as lesbian/homosexual. Approximately 22% were injection drug users. In bivariate analyses, WSW were more likely than WSMO to have: an illegal main income source, multiple sex partners, traded sex for money or drugs, initiated sex at an earlier age, cocaine and crack dependency, and had sex with MSM and both hepatitis- and HIV-infected individuals. In multivariable logistic regression, WSW were more likely than WSMO to be cocaine dependent [OR=1.75, 95% CI:1.02,3.01)], have had sex with MSM (OR=2.78, 95% CI:1.58,4.89), and have had sex before the age of 15 (OR=1.92, 95% CI:1.12,3.30). Conclusions: These preliminary data suggest that WSWs who use drugs have multiple risk factors for HIV. While earlier studies have demonstrated that HIV transmission from female-to-female sexual contact is uncommon, these findings show other characteristics that place WSW drug users at risk.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Workflow Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Lesbian and Bisexual Women's Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA