Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Public Health
Jeffrey A. Wickersham
Objective: To describe the female and transgender sex worker population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, understand their patterns of substance use, and examine the correlates of active amphetamine-type substance (ATS) use.
Methods: We administered a cross-sectional survey and performed biological testing on 492 sex workers to assess lifetime and active substance use history and frequency, criminal justice involvement, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, sexual risk behaviors, experience of childhood and adulthood physical and sexual abuse, depression, and prevalence of HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. We performed descriptive statistics to describe demographics and lifetime and active drug use patterns and employed bivariate and multivariate logistic regression to examine correlates of active ATS use.
Results: Of 492 participants 299 (60.8%) were female and 193 (39.2%) were transgender. Prevalence of substance abuse disorders (29.7%) were high. ATS (32.3%) was the substance with highest reported use in the 30 days prior; smoking was the main route of administration. Of the sample, 11.7% was HIV-infected and 11.9% tested positive for syphilis. The majority of
participants were unaware of their infections. History of childhood and adulthood physical and sexual abuse, depression (57.1%), and previous incarceration was also high (57.5%). Location, history of incarceration, history of self-harm, polysubstance use, and testing positive for syphilis were significantly associated with active ATS use even after controlling for all other variables.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest there is a high need for evidence-based interventions for HIV prevention tailored specifically towards female and transgender women who dually engage in drug use and sex work.
Pedersen, Courtney Jo, "Patterns Of Drug Use And Correlates Of Active Amphetamine-Type Substance Use Among Sex Workers In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia" (2016). Public Health Theses. 1224.