Drug use patterns and infection with sexually transmissible agents among young adults in a high-risk neighbourhood in New York City

Samuel R. Friedman, Peter L. Flom, Benny J. Kottiri, Jonathan Zenilman, Richard Curtis, Alan Neaigus, Milagros Sandoval, Thomas Quinn, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aims: To determine relationships between drug use 'hardness' (defined in increasing order of hardness as no drug use, marijuana use, non-injected heroin or cocaine use, crack smoking and injection drug use) and prevalences of several sexually transmissible infections among young adults in a high-risk neighbourhood. Drug users, particularly injection drug users and crack smokers, may be a core group for some sexually transmitted infections. Design: Cross-sectional survey and assays of young adults from (a) a household probability sample and (b) a targeted sample of youth who have used injected drugs, crack, other cocaine or heroin. Setting: Bushwick, an impoverished New York City minority neighbourhood, with major drug markets. Participants: A total of 363 18-24-year-olds from a household probability sample: 165 Bushwick 18-24-year-olds who have used injected drugs, crack, other cocaine or heroin. Measurements: Drug use by self-report; serum- and urine-based assays for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes simplex (type 2). Findings: Household-sample prevalences: HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis. 1%; gonorrhoea 3%; chlamydia 5%; past or present hepatitis B infection 8%; herpes simplex (type 2) 18%. In combined household and targeted samples, hepatitis C and HIV were concentrated among drug injectors. Herpes simplex (type 2). syphilis and hepatitis B increased among women with 'hardest drug ever used'. Conclusions: Using 'harder' drugs is associated with some but not all of these infections, Prevention efforts should help youth avoid unsafe sex and higher-risk drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalAddiction
Volume98
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

Keywords

  • Community sample
  • Drug use
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Herpes simplex
  • Sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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