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Prevalence and correlates of exchanging sex for drugs or money among adolescents in the United States
  1. J M Edwards,
  2. B J Iritani,
  3. D D Hallfors
  1. Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 1516 E Franklin Street, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Jessica M Edwards
 Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 1516 E Franklin Street, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2812, USA; jedwards{at}pire.org

Abstract

Objective: This study examined the prevalence and correlates of exchanging sex for drugs or money among a nationally representative sample of 13 294 adolescents in the United States.

Methods: Data are from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, waves I and II. The lifetime prevalence of exchanging sex was estimated and a cross sectional analysis of sociodemographic and behavioural correlates was conducted. Unadjusted odds ratios were obtained.

Results: 3.5% of adolescents had ever exchanged sex for drugs or money. Two thirds of these youths were boys. The odds of having exchanged sex were higher for youths who had used drugs, had run away from home, were depressed, and had engaged in various sexual risk behaviours. 15% of boys and 20% of girls who had exchanged sex reported they had ever been told they have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Conclusions: Adolescents with a history of exchanging sex have engaged in other high risk behaviours and may experience poor health outcomes, including depression and HIV/STIs. These findings should help inform strategies to prevent this high risk sexual behaviour and its potential consequences.

  • ACASI, audio computer assisted self interview
  • CES-D, Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale
  • STIs, sexually transmitted infections
  • sexual behaviour
  • adolescents
  • HIV
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • substance abuse

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Footnotes

  • Published Online First 10 August 2006

  • Funding: This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (grant R01-DA14496; D Hallfors, principal investigator). NIDA had no involvement in this study design; in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; or in the writing of this paper or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interest: none.

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