Background: Alcohol misuse is associated with increased human immunodeficiency virus sexual risk behaviors by women. Drug use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and depressive symptoms frequently co-occur, are well-recognized alcohol misuse comorbidities, and may interact to increase risk behaviors. Using a syndemic framework we examined associations between drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms and sexual risk behaviors by 400 women with alcohol misuse attending an urban sexually transmitted infections clinic. Methods: Participants completed computer-assisted interviews querying drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms and sexual risk behavior outcomes—unprotected sex under the influence of alcohol, sex for drugs/money, and number of lifetime sexual partners. We used multivariable analysis to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) for independent and joint associations between drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms and our outcomes. To investigate synergy between risk factors we calculated the relative excess prevalence owing to interaction for all variable combinations. Results: In multivariable analysis, drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms alone and in combination were associated with higher prevalence/count of risk behaviors compared with women with alcohol misuse alone. The greatest prevalence/count occurred when all three were present (unprotected sex under the influence of alcohol [PR, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–4.9]), sex for money or drugs [PR, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.7–4.2], and number of lifetime partners [PR, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.9–5.2]). Drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms did not interact synergistically to increase sexual risk behavior prevalence. Conclusions: A higher prevalence of sexual risk behaviors by women with alcohol misuse combined with drug use, IPV, and depressive symptoms supports the need for alcohol interventions addressing these additional comorbidities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery