UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Crystal Methamphetamine Use Among Female Street-based Sex Workers : Moving Beyond Individual-Focused Interventions Shannon, Kate; Strathdee, Steffanie A.; Shoveller, Jean; Zhang, Ruth; Montaner, Julio; Tyndall, Mark


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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