Factors associated with sexual risks and risk of STIs, HIV and other blood-borne viruses among women using heroin and other drugs: A systematic literature review


This systematic literature review identified factors associated with sexual risks related to sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV and other blood-borne viruses (BBV) among women using heroin and other drugs. The search strategy included five databases (PubMed, EMBASE, PsycNET, Web of Science, Scopus), and PsycEXTRA for grey literature. Out of the 12,135 publications screened, 30 peer-reviewed articles were included. Most publications were cross-sectional (n = 25), quantitative (n = 23) and included 11,305 women. Factors identified were: (1) socio-demographics; (2) gender roles and violence against women; (3) substance use; (4) transactional sex; (5) partner characteristics, partner’s drug use, and context of sex; (6) preferences, negotiation and availability of condoms; (7) HIV status and STIs; (8) number of sexual partners; (9) love and trust; (10) reproductive health and motherhood; and (11) risk awareness and perception of control. Overall, this review highlights important implications for future research and practice, and provides evidence for developing STI/BBV preventive strategies


Medina-Perucha L, Family H, Scott J, Chapman S, Dack C




  • Determinants of Health
    • Housing
    • Employment
    • Education
    • Stigma/discrimination
    • Abuse
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • People who use drugs
    • Ethnoracial communities
  • Prevention
    • Sexual risk behaviour
    • Drug use behaviours/harm reduction
  • Substance Use
    • Alcohol
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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