Introduction Places are an important determinant of risk for STI transmission. We sought to identify places that are critical for targeted STI control activities. The objective of this study was to determine whether sex partner meeting places characterised by drug markets, sex markets and separately, drug and/or sex markets were more likely to have core transmitters as compared to other sex partner meeting places in one urban setting.
Methods In 2008–2009, heterosexual sex partner places or venues were identified in Baltimore, MD using a venue-based study approach. Core transmitters were defined by their sexual network connectivity and disease status, i.e. self-report of sexual concurrency and diagnosis of a current bacterial STI.
Results 1,334 participants aged 18–35 years were enrolled at 85 venues. 39 core transmitters were identified and 31% of venues had at least one core transmitter. In final age- and gender-adjusted models, core transmitters were significantly more likely to be identified at drug markets (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.23, 1.53), sex markets (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.14. 1.41) and drug and/or sex markets (OR 1.49; 95% CI 1.32, 1.68).
Conclusions This study identified key characteristics of venues, such as drug and sex market activity, which may be important in identifying places for the targeted control of STI transmission.
The Centre for Child and Community Health Research (CCHR) and the Baltimore City Health Department were funded for this work by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH. No pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.
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