Methamphetamine use and sexual risks for HIV infection in Cape Town, South Africa
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The current study examined the use of methamphetamine (Meth) in relation to HIV risks in a South African community sample. Design and setting: Street intercept methods were used to collect surveys of substance use and sexual behavior from 441 men and 521 women living in a racially mixed township in Cape Town South Africa. Findings: Results showed that 78 (18%) men and 63 (12%) women had used Meth, and 49 (11%) men and 34 (6%) women ever had used Meth in the preceding 6 months. Other than alcohol, cannabis was the most commonly used drug followed by Meth. We found that Meth use was closely associated with other drug use, indicating a pattern of poly?substance use among Meth users. Recent Meth use was associated with being male, engaging in unprotected intercourse and having multiple sex partners in the previous 6 months. Meth users also demonstrated greater condom use than non-users, although less than half of all intercourse occasions among Meth users were condom protected. Conclusions: Meth is used by a substantial number of people in one area of South Africa and the close association of Meth and sexual risk practices raises concern that Meth could fuel the spread of HIV infection in new South African sub-populations.