Sexual and Drug Use Risk Behaviors of Long-Haul Truck Drivers and Their Commercial Sex Contacts in New Mexico

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SYNOPSISObjectives.Long-haul truck drivers and their commercial sex contacts (CCs) have been associated with the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the developing world. However, there is a paucity of information about the STI risk behaviors of these populations in the U.S. We conducted a qualitative phase of a two-phase study to gather information about STI-related risk behaviors in drivers and their CCs in New Mexico.Methods.Between July and September 2004, we conducted face-to-face unstructured and semistructured qualitative interviews at trucking venues, health department facilities, and a community-based organization to solicit information on sexual behavior and condom and illicit drug use. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, reviewed for quality control, and then coded and analyzed for emerging themes using NVivo® software.Results.Thirty-three long-haul truck drivers and 15 CCs completed the interview. The truck drivers were mostly male and non-Hispanic white with a mean age of 41 years. The majority of the CCs were female, the largest percentage was Hispanic, and the mean age was 36 years. Data suggested risky sexual behavior and drug use (i.e., inconsistent condom use, illicit drug use including intravenous drug use, and the exchange of sex for drugs) that could facilitate STI/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis virus transmission. Results also showed a low knowledge about STIs and lack of access to general health care for both populations.Conclusions.Additional studies are needed to further assess risk and inform the development of prevention interventions and methods to provide STI/HIV and other medical services to these populations.

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