Recent Partner Violence, Sexual Relationship Power, and STIs among Women Who Use Methamphetamine: Does Type of Sexual Partner Matter?


Methamphetamine use, sexual relationship power (SRP), and partner violence (PV) are associated with increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among women. The objective of our study was to examine the association of recent PV and SRP on STIs by partner type among HIV-negative, heterosexual women who use methamphetamine in San Diego, CA. Using baseline survey data from 209 women enrolled in FASTLANE II, an HIV behavioral intervention trial, we conducted logistic regression analyses to examine associations between PV, SRP, and self-reported lifetime STIs (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea). Models focused on PV perpetrated within the past 2 months by: (1) spouse, live-in, or steady sexual partners and (2) casual or anonymous sexual partners. Seventy-eight percent of women reported lifetime physical PV and 57% reported lifetime sexual PV. In the past 2 months, 19.6% reported physical and/or sexual violence by a spouse, live-in, or steady sexual partner, and 7.2% reported physical and/or sexual PV by a casual or anonymous partner. Median SRP score was 2.36 (interquartile range: 2.02–2.68). Twenty-six percent of women reported ever being diagnosed with ≥ 1 STI. While recent physical violence and sexual violence were not associated with STI history among women in steady relationships, women who reported recent sexual violence by casual/anonymous partners were approximately 8 times more likely to ever have an STI compared with those with no history of recent PV by casual/anonymous partners (AOR: 7.70; 95% CI: 1.32, 44.84). SRP was not associated with lifetime STIs among women who reported either partner type. Our findings support a relationship between recent sexual violence perpetrated by casual/anonymous partners and women’s STI history. Women who use methamphetamine need help in navigating partner violence experiences. Risk reduction interventions to support this marginalized population are needed.

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We thank the FASTLANE II study staff and the research participants for their contributions to our research study.


This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH Grant #R01MH061146). At the time of this research, J. K. Stockman was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA Grant #K01DA031593), and H. Hayashi was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIMH Grant #R36DA039012). The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Jamila K. Stockman.

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Stockman, J.K., Hayashi, H.D., Barnes, R.F. et al. Recent Partner Violence, Sexual Relationship Power, and STIs among Women Who Use Methamphetamine: Does Type of Sexual Partner Matter?. J Urban Health 97, 387–394 (2020).

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  • Methamphetamine
  • Partner violence
  • STI
  • Relationship power
  • Sexual partnership
  • Women