Sexual behaviour in injecting drug users

Michael W. Ross, Alex Wodak, Julian Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the reported sexual behaviour of 1,245 injecting drug users (both in and out of treatment) who were recruited off the street in Sydney, Australia. The major differences in sexual behaviour were determined by sexual orientation (homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual). Condom use in the six months prior to interview was higher than that reported by IDUs in New York but similar to that reported in San Francisco and the U.K., with bisexual men reporting higher rales than heterosexual men, and homosexual men higher rates than bisexual men. Condom use for oral sex was low. Condom use with regular partners was about 5% lower than with casual partners. Regular partners of male IDUs were more likely not to be IDUs, with the converse true for women. Half the respondents were likely to be intoxicated when having sex. These data underline the importance of distinguishing between sexual orientation as well as gender in determining type and degree of risk associated with sexual behaviour in IDUs, and suggest that condom use should be assessed in terms of known risk behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Psychology and Human Sexuality
Volume5
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1,245 injecting drug users (both in and out of treatment) who were recruited off the street in Sydney, Australia. The major differences in sexual behaviour were determined by sexual orientation (homo- sexual, bisexual or heterosexual). Condom use in the six months prior to interview was higher than that reported by IDUs in New York but similar to that reported in San Francisco and the U.K., wilh bisexual men reporting higher rates than heterosexual men, and homosexual men higher rates than bisexual men. Condom use for oral sex was low. Condom use with regular partners was about 5% lower than with casual partners. Regular parlners of male IDUs were more likely not to be IDUs, with the converse true for women. Half the respondenls were likely to be intoxicated when having sex. These data underline the importance of dislinguishing between sexual orientation as well as gender in determining type and degree of risk associated with sexual behaviour in IDUs, and suggest that condom use should be assessed in terms of known risk behaviours Michael W. Ross is affiliated wilh Ule National Centre in HIV Social Research. School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney. Alex Wodak is affiliated wilh the Alcohol and Drug Service,'St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. Julian Gold is affiliated wil lhe Albion Street (AIDS) Centre, Sydney Hospital, Sydney. Address correspondence to Dr. Michael Ross, National Centre in HIV Social Research, School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, 345 Crown Street, Suny Hills, NSW 2010, Australia. This study was funded by a Commonwealth AIDS Research Grant and forms part of a national study of H W infection risks in IDUs. The work of Michael Drury, Jill Thomas, Sal Renshaw. Peter Karlsson, Vivienne Grifh, Leslie Armstrong, Neil Carroll, Simon Nimmo, Helen Johns, Vanessa French and Paul Plem-ing on this study is gratefully acknowledged.

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