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Melvin Stephens

Ecstasy use and its association with sexual behaviors among drug users in New York City

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Novoa, R., D.C. Ompad, Y. Wu, D. Vlahov, and Sandro Galea. 2005. "Ecstasy use and its association with sexual behaviors among drug users in New York City." Journal of Community Health, 20(5): 329-341.

In the past two decades, recreational use of ecstasy has become a growing concern in the United States, although most studies assessing ecstasy use have focused on white, middle-class adolescents who use ecstasy during raves and in clubs. We assessed the prevalence of recent ecstasy use among predominantly minority heroin, cocaine, and crack users in New York City and the association between ecstasy and sexual risk above and beyond that of the other drugs. Between 2002 and 2004, injection and non-injection heroin, crack and cocaine users (N = 534) completed a risk behavior questionnaire that included items on ecstasy use. Logistic regression was used to investigate the relation between current ecstasy use and sexual behaviors. Of 534 illicit drug users, 69.7% were aged 25 years or older, 65.2% were Hispanic, 27.9% Black and 77.4% male; 36.7% were injectors. 17.2% of respondents reported recent (last six months) ecstasy use. In a multivariable logistic regression model, current ecstasy use was associated both with initiating sex before age 14 (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.51) and having two or more partners in the past two months (AOR = 1.86) after adjusting for age at study entry, current cocaine and marijuana use and being an injection drug user. This study suggests that ecstasy use may be more prevalent among urban drug users. Ecstasy use in urban settings, beyond clubs and raves, should continue to be monitored.

DOI:10.1007/s10900-005-5515-0 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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