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Open Access Research article

Gender difference in the characteristics of and high-risk behaviours among non-injecting heterosexual methamphetamine users in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China

Dianchang Liu13, Zhenhong Wang2, Tongsheng Chu13 and Shumin Chen13*

Author Affiliations

1 Shandong Clinical College of Skin Diseases, Anhui Medical University, 27397, Jingshi Lu, Jinan, Shandong, 250022, China

2 The Third People's Hospital of Chengyang, Wangsha Lu, Chengyang, Qingdao, 266107, China

3 Shandong Provincial Institutes of Dermatology and Venerology, 27397, Jingshi Lu, Jinan, 250022, China

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-30

Published: 14 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Despite the increasing risk of HIV infections, few studies concerning the characteristics of non-injecting heterosexual methamphetamine (MA) users and related risk behaviours have been conducted in China.

Methods

Gender differences in socio-demographic characteristics, perception of MA and STD/HIV, MA use practices, and sexual behaviours related to MA use were examined among 398 non-injecting heterosexual MA users (288 males, 110 females).

Results

Male MA users were more likely to be married, local, and self-employed; female MA users were more likely to be young, single, engaged in commercial service or unemployed. Female MA users usually start MA use at an earlier age than males (24.3 vs. 31.3 years old), with shorter abuse durations (2.6 vs. 2.9 years), higher frequency of MA use (3.6 vs. 2.4 times per week), and higher likelihood of using MA with heterosexual partners (100% vs. 78.1%). More male MA users have had multiple sex partners (96.9% vs. 77.3%) and sex exchanges (72.9% vs. 46.4%). Among 277 males who had had sex with commercial sex workers (CSW), 69.4% never used condoms, and among 77 males who had had sex with multiple partners who are commercial sex workers and always or usually used condoms, 87.0% never changed condoms when changing partners.

Conclusion

There may be gender difference in the characteristics of high-risk behaviours among non-injecting heterosexual MA users. The findings suggest the integration of specific risk reduction strategies into intervention programs for non-injecting heterosexual MA user populations may significantly improve program goals.

Keywords:
Methamphetamines; Heterosexual; High-risk behaviour; Gender