Correlates of Sexual Coercion among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA

Jeffery E. Williams, Derek T. Dangerfield, Alex H. Kral, Lynn D. Wenger, Ricky N. Bluthenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experiences of coerced or forced sex have been associated with risk for HIV infection for all adults and may be more common for gays, lesbians, bisexuals (GLB) and people who inject drugs (PWID). In this study, we explored factors associated with prior 12-month experiences of forced or coerced sex among a sample of PWID, with a focus on sexual orientation and gender. PWID (N = 772) from Los Angeles and San Francisco were recruited using targeted sampling methods in 2011–2013 and surveyed on a range of items related to demographics, drug use, HIV risk, and violence, including experiences of forced or coerced sex in the prior 12 months. In this racially/ethnically diverse, mostly homeless, and low-income sample of PWID, 25% of participants were female and 15% identified as GLB. Sexual coercion was reported by 9% of gay and bisexual men, 8% of heterosexual females, 5% of lesbians and bisexual women, and less than 1% of heterosexual men. In multivariate analyses, compared to heterosexual males, gay or bisexual males (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 10.68; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.03, 56.23), and heterosexual females (AOR = 9.69; 95% CI = 2.04, 45.94) had increased odds of coerced sex in the prior 12 months. Having a paying sex partner (AOR = 3.49; 95% CI = 1.42, 8.54) or having had forced sex prior to the age of 16 by someone at least five years older (AOR = 4.74; 95% CI = 1.88, 11.93) also elevated the odds of coercive sex. Sexual coercion is common among PWID, but especially for gay and bisexual men and heterosexual females. Efforts to reduce sexual violence among PWID are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-476
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019


  • HIV risk
  • Injection drug use
  • Sexual coercion
  • Sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlates of Sexual Coercion among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this