Young Thai women who use methamphetamine: Intersection of sexual partnerships, drug use, and social networks

Danielle German, Susan G. Sherman, Carl A. Latkin, Bangorn Sirirojn, Nicholas Thomson, Catherine G. Sutcliffe, Apinun Aramrattana, David D. Celentano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Given high rates of methamphetamine (MA) use among young people in Thailand and evidence of an association between MA and increased sexual risk behaviour, we examined the association between women's recent sexual partnerships, social network characteristics and drug and alcohol use. Methods: Female participants (n = 320) in an HIV behavioural trial among young (18-25 years) MA users in Chiang Mai completed a drug and sexual behaviour survey and social network inventory. Multinomial regression analyses accounting for clustered data examined individual and network characteristics associated with recent sexual partnership category. We compared women with only one male partner in the past year (39%) to those with multiple male partners (37%) and those with only female partners (24%). Results: Differences in levels of drug and alcohol use and social and sexual network characteristics were dependent on recent sexual partnership profiles. The multiple partner group reported an average of five male partners in the past year; 12% reported consistent condom use in the past 30 days. Compared to both groups, women with multiple male partners used MA more frequently, had larger non-sex networks with more MA users, were more likely to have an MA-using sex partner, and received less emotional support from their partners. Women with multiple male partners and only female partners reported more frequent alcohol use. Conclusions: Policy and intervention efforts targeting drug use and sexual behaviour among young Thai women are drastically needed and may benefit from consideration of the diversity within the population. These data point to the need for targeted prevention approaches that take into account the varying characteristics and social influences of these different groups of women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Methamphetamine
  • Sex partners
  • Social network
  • Thailand
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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