Prevalence, incidence, and correlates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among young adult injection drug users

Mary Latka, Jennifer Ahern, Richard S. Garfein, Lawrence Ouellet, Peter Kerndt, Patricia Morse, Carol E. Farshy, Donald C. Des Jarlais, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To measure prevalence, incidence, and correlates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among injection drug users (IDUs). Methods: Participants (n=2129; 63% male, 52% white, ages 18-30 years) in five US cities were tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea by urine LCR assay and completed a standardized questionnaire about demographics and recent sexual behavior. Logistic regression identified correlates of prevalent infection; incidence rates were calculated from 6-month follow-up data. Results: Chlamydia prevalence was 5.2% and did not differ by gender. Gonorrhea prevalence was 0.2% among men and 2.0% among women, P<.001. Among men, younger age [OR (95% CI): 0.89 (0.83-0.96)], age at sexual debut [0.91 (0.83-0.99)], and African American race [2.92 (1.53-5.59)] were associated with chlamydia. Among women, age at sexual debut [1.16 (1.02-1.31)] and commercial sex [1.96 (1.03-3.74)] were associated with chlamydia, and with gonorrhea [1.27 (1.04-1.56)] and [5.17 (1.66-16.11)], respectively. At 6 months, the cumulative incidence of chlamydia was 1.7% among men and 4.4% among women, P=.03; no men and 1.3% of women tested positive for gonorrhea, P=.01. Implications: Prevalence and correlates of chlamydia and gonorrhea were similar to other samples, suggesting that screening criteria need not be modified for IDU populations. The number of behavioral correlates identified was limited; perhaps unmeasured sexual-network-level factors play a role in determining sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of substance abuse
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Injection drug use
  • Prevalence
  • Sexually transmitted disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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