1 San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program, Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use, San Diego, CA, USA.
2 Psychology Department, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.
3 Center for Behavioral Research and Services, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.
4 School of Nursing, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.
5 Health Care Administration Department, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.
6 Office of Research, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR, USA.
This study examined the comparative health risk behaviors of women who (a) traded sex for money, (b) traded sex for drugs, (c) traded sex for both drugs and money, or (d) did not trade sex. Self-report data were collected from 2369 women who received services through HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing programs and a subset were tested for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis. Results revealed those women who traded sex only for money used condoms, were tested for HIV, and received the HIV test results more often than the other women. Women who traded sex for both drugs and money reported a significantly higher prevalence of gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis; were more likely to test positive for hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV; engaged more often in sex acts without condoms; and were incarcerated for significantly more days. Based on these findings, the targets with greatest potential for STI prevention interventions are female sex workers who trade sex for both drugs and money.