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Lifetime and past-month substance use and injection among street-based female sex workers in Iran



Street-based female sex workers (FSWs) are highly at risk of HIV and other harms associated with sex work. We assessed the prevalence of non-injection and injection drug use and their associated factors among street-based FSWs in Iran.


We recruited 898 FSWs from 414 venues across 19 major cities in Iran between October 2016 and March 2017. Correlates of lifetime and past-month non-injection and injection drug use were assessed through multivariable logistic regression models. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported.


Lifetime and past-month non-injection drug use were reported by 60.3% (95% CI 51, 84) and 47.2% (95% CI 38, 67) of FSWs, respectively. The prevalence of lifetime and past-month injection drug use were 8.6% (95% CI 6.9, 10.7) and 3.7% (95% CI 2.6, 5.2), respectively. Recent non-injection drug use was associated with divorced marital status (AOR 2.00, 95% CI 1.07, 3.74), temporary marriage (AOR 4.31 [1.79, 10.40]), had > 30 clients per month (AOR 2.76 [1.29, 5.90]), ever alcohol use (AOR 3.03 [1.92, 6.79]), and history of incarceration (AOR 7.65 [3.89, 15.30]). Similarly, lifetime injection drug use was associated with ever alcohol use (AOR 2.74 [1.20-6.20]), ever incarceration (AOR 5.06 [2.48-10.28]), and ever group sex (AOR 2.44 [1.21-4.92]).


Non-injection and injection drug use are prevalent among street-based FSWs in Iran. Further prevention programs are needed to address and reduce harms associated with drug use among this vulnerable population in Iran.

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