Prevalence and factors associated with sex trading in the year prior to entering treatment for drug misuse in England

G Gilchrist, N Singleton, Michael Donmall, A Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study estimates the past year prevalence of and factors associated with sex trading (offering sex for money, drugs or something else) among 1796 men and women presenting to 342 drug misuse treatment agencies in England, and identifies service development and delivery implications.

    Secondary analysis of baseline data from a prospective cohort was conducted. Short Form-12 measured mental and physical wellbeing, psychiatric diagnoses were self-reported and the circumstances, motivation and readiness tool assessed readiness for/pressure to enter treatment. Logistic regression models determined associations with sex trading separately by sex. Inverse probability population weights were calculated, utilising demographics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System and agency specific data collection windows.

    The estimated prevalence rate of sex trading in the past 12 months was 5.1% (15.0% for women and 2.1% for men). For women, adjusted models identified crack use (aOR 1.83, 95% CI 1.22–2.74, p = 0.004), previous treatment (aOR 3.00, 95% CI 1.31–6.86, p = 0.010) and greater readiness for treatment (aOR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24, p = 0.027) as independently associated with sex trading. For men, lower mental wellbeing (aOR 0.97, 95% CI 0.94–0.99, p = 0.030) was independently associated and marginal effects were identified for syringe sharing (aOR 2.89, 95% CI 0.94–8.86, p = 0.064) and unprotected sex (aOR 2.23, 95% CI 0.95–5.26, p = 0.065).

    Sex trading among drug misusers is associated with additional health risks and specific treatment needs. Given the scale of the problem it is important that treatment providers have the competencies to adequately address the issue and provide accessible and appropriate services.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)116-122
    Number of pages6
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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