Methamphetamine (MA) use is a significant public health concern due to its negative effects on health. However, to date, no epidemiological research has examined high-risk sexual behaviors (inconsistent condom use, having multiple sexual partners and having a history of sexually transmitted infections) among MA users. This topic is particularly important in Myanmar, which is recognized as one of the key MA production countries in the Southeast Asia region. Therefore, this study examined factors associated with high-risk sexual behaviors among MA users in Muse city, Myanmar.
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from January to March 2013 in Muse city, Northern Shan State, Myanmar. In total, 1183 MA users (772 male; 411 female) were recruited using respondent-driven sampling and a computer assisted self-interviewing method. Generalized estimating equation models were used to examine factors associated with high-risk sexual behaviors.
A large proportion of MA users engaged in high-risk sexual behaviors (inconsistent condom use: males, 90.7%, females, 85.2%; multiple sexual partners: males, 94.2%, females, 47.2%; and history of STIs: males, 55.7%, females, 56.0%). Among males, being a multiple stimulants drug user (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] =1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.30–2.41) and being a client of sex workers (AOR = 1.41; 95% CI = 1.08–1.83) were risk factors for engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors. Among females, being a migrant worker (AOR = 2.70; 95% CI = 1.86–3.93) and being employed (AOR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.13–2.18) were risk factors for engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors as well.
High-risk sexual behaviors were particularly pronounced among both male and female MA users. MA prevention programs that reflect gender considerations should be developed to pay more attention to vulnerable populations such as migrants, clients of sex workers, and less educated female MA users.