Associations with drug use and sexualised drug use among women who have sex with women (WSW) in the UK: Findings from the LGBT Sex and Lifestyles Survey

Matthew Peter Hibbert*, Lorna A. Porcellato, Caroline E. Brett, Vivian D. Hope

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Studies indicate that women who have sex with women (WSW) report greater levels of drug use than heterosexual women, but globally few studies have looked at sexualised drug use among WSW. This study investigated the factors associated with drug use and sexualised drug use (SDU) among WSW. Methods: Potential participants across the UK were invited to take part in a cross-sectional anonymous online survey between April-June 2018. The LGBT Sex and Lifestyles Survey recruited participants through Facebook advertising and social media posts from community organisations. Multivariate logistic regression was used to compare WSW who had engaged in any drug use in the past 12 months with those who had not, and those who engaged in sexualised drug use in the past 12 months with those who engaged in other drug use. Results: 1501 WSW could be included in the analyses (mean age = 28.9, 97% white ethnicity). Any drug use was reported by 39% of WSW (n = 583), 44% of which (17% of total, n = 258) reported SDU. Factors associated with drug use were identifying as queer (aOR = 1.86, 95%CI 1.08, 3.23), younger age (aOR = 0.96, 95%CI 0.95, 0.98), being born outside the UK (aOR = 1.75, 95%CI 1.15, 2.66), recent sexual assault (aOR = 2.35, 95%CI 1.43, 3.86), > = 5 female sexual partners (aOR = 3.81, 95%CI 1.81, 8.01), and psychological distress (aOR = 1.75, 95%CI 1.15, 2.67). SDU was associated with identifying as bisexual (aOR = 2.55, 95%CI 1.69, 3.86), > = 5 female sexual partners (aOR = 4.50, 95%CI 1.91, 10.59), and highest education achieved at 16 or lower (aOR = 2.46, 95%CI 1.24, 4.90). Conclusions: Some WSW may have negative experiences in relation to drug use and SDU. Harm reduction and health services that provide services for WSW should be aware of potentially compounding factors related to drug use, such as sexual assault and psychological distress, providing a safe and LGBT-friendly environment to discuss these issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume74
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Drug use
  • Sexual health
  • Sexualised drug use
  • Women who have sex with women

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