Drug Users: A Potentially Important Bridge Population in the Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Including AIDS, in China
February 22, 2006
The authors conducted a cross-sectional study to examine risk characteristics among bridge and nonbridge drug users. The researchers defined those who shared needles and engaged in sex with both high-risk and low-risk partners as bridgers.
The authors recruited 312 drug users, 49.4 percent (154) of whom were bridgers. Among those, 83.1 percent injected drugs and 35 percent had shared needles within the past month. Eighty-seven percent (134) of bridgers had one or more commercial sex partners in the past year. Only 3.9 percent of bridgers and 4.6 percent of nonbridgers used condoms consistently with regular sex partners. Fifty-eight percent of bridgers and 46.8 percent of nonbridgers tested positive for hepatitis C, and 15.6 percent of bridgers and 7 percent of nonbridgers tested positive for syphilis.
"The pervasiveness of bridgers among drug users and their risky sexual behavior underscore their role in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases," the investigators concluded.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
02.06; Vol. 33; No. 2; P. 111-117; Hongjie Liu, Ph.D.; Oscar Grusky, Ph.D.; Xiaojing Li, M.D.; Erjian Ma, M.D.