Substance use, multiple substance use, sexual risk taking and condom use among low income women

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Hypotheses are tested relating substance use and number of different substances used to sexual risk taking, contraceptive method and condom use. It is expected that substance use and number of substances used will be positively associated with sexual risk taking, negatively associated with condom use and that women using substances and women using more substances will use less efficient forms of contraception. The sample consists of low income women recruited from sites in Miami, Florida in 1994/1995. For a woman to be eligible she had to be between the ages of 18–45, not pregnant and not knowingly HIV positive. She also had to be engaging in behaviors which put her at risk for HIV infection. The sample includes 552 black, Hispanic and white non-Hispanic women. Descriptive analyses are used to depict the bivariate associations hypothesized, and three different logit models are used to test the hypotheses in a multivariate format for each sexual risk and each contraceptive/condom relationship. The analyses show a strong association between both substance use and number of different substances used and sexual risk taking. Women using two and three or more different substances have higher odds of being exposed to sexual risks. Substance use and the number of substances used is not associated with type of contraception. However, substance use and number of substances used has a positive association with condom use for both women using less efficient and efficient methods of contraception. It appears that although substance use increases sexual risk taking, women who use substances are more likely to use condoms than women who do not use substances.

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