Prevalence and correlates of active amphetamine-type stimulant use among female sex workers in Malaysia

Pedersen, Courtney J. and Wickersham, Jeffrey A. and Altice, Frederick L. and Kamarulzaman, Adeeba and Khoshnood, Kaveh and Gibson, Britton A. and Khati, Antoine and Maviglia, Francesca and Shrestha, Roman (2022) Prevalence and correlates of active amphetamine-type stimulant use among female sex workers in Malaysia. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13. ISSN 1664-0640, DOI

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The use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) has been associated with increased sexual risk behaviors and HIV transmission, among other adverse health outcomes. However, ATS use among female sex workers (FSWs) in Malaysia has not yet been characterized. We examined the prevalence and correlates associated with ATS use among Malaysian FSW. Between February and December 2016, 492 FSWs, including cisgender (n = 299) and transgender (n = 193) women, were recruited using respondent-driven sampling in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A structured questionnaire was used to collect demographic characteristics, sexual behaviors, ATS and other substance use, behavioral health issues, involvement in criminal justice, and experience of physical and sexual trauma. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine factors associated with active ATS use, defined as ATS use in the last 30 days. Nearly one-third (32.3%) of participants reported active ATS use. In the multivariable model, ATS use was associated with drug use during sex work (aOR = 17.10; 8.32-35.15), having moderate to severe level of substance use disorder (aOR = 3.38; 1.48-7.70), and engaging in sex work with multiple clients per day (two clients: aOR = 3.39; 1.36-8.46; three clients: aOR = 5.06; 1.81-14.10). A high prevalence of ATS use was documented in our sample. The presence of moderate to severe substance use disorder, the use of drugs during sex work activity, and having multiple sex work clients per day were significantly associated with active ATS use. Given these findings, prevention and harm reduction strategies need to be tailored to address the increasing ATS use and the associated adverse health consequences among FSWs in Malaysia.

Item Type: Article
Funders: National Institute on Drug Abuse for career development, K01 DA038529, K01 DA051346, K24 DA017072, National Institute on Drug Abuse, K01DA051346
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amphetamine-type stimulant; Substance use; Sexual risks; HIV; Sex worker; Malaysia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine > Medicine Department
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2023 07:51
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2023 07:51

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