African-American girls addicted to marijuana have riskier sex

August 6th, 2008 - 11:15 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 6 (IANS) African-American girls using marijuana are more likely to engage in risky sexual acts and contract sexually transmitted disease, according to a new study. Emory University researchers analysed marijuana use and self-reported sexual behaviour of 439 sexually active African-American females between the ages of 15 and 21.

They found that girls who took marijuana had significantly higher rates of STDs than non-marijuana users (32 percent compared to 23 percent).

Marijuana users also had more sex partners, riskier sex partners, including a partner just released from jail, and more recent episodes of engaging in vaginal sex.

“While adolescent African-American females remain a high-risk group for STDs, little research has examined their marijuana use, sexual behaviours and incidence of STD infection,” said study co-author Ralph DiClemente, professor of public health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

“Although no differences in condom use were identified between marijuana users and non-users, results suggest that marijuana users are engaging in sexual acts with riskier partners and under riskier circumstances, and had higher rates of STDs,” DiClemente said.

DiClemente and his team recommend STD and HIV intervention programmes designed for adolescent African-American females that promote condom use as well as emphasise the risks of drug use and STD and HIV infection.

These findings are being presented at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.

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