Association of MDMA/ecstasy and other substance use with self-reported sexually transmitted diseases among college-aged adults: a national study.
OBJECTIVES: MDMA/ecstasy use among college students has increased and reportedly leads to risky sexual behaviours. However, little is known about its association with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To evaluate this public health concern, this study examined the association between substance use (particularly MDMA) and self-reported STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes and syphilis) among college students and non-students aged 18-22 years (n=20,858). STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional data analysis of a national survey. METHODS: Data were drawn from the 2005-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health; a nationally representative survey of non-institutionalized Americans. Self-reported STDs and substance use were assessed by the audio computer-assisted self-interviewing method. The association between MDMA use and STDs was determined while taking into account young adults' use of other substances, healthcare utilization and sociodemographic characteristics. RESULTS: Overall, 2.1% of college students and 2.5% of non-students reported contracting an STD in the past year. MDMA use in the past year was not associated with STDs. Among non-students, onset of MDMA use before 18 years of age increased the odds of past-year STDs. In both groups, alcohol use, marijuana use, female gender and African American race increased the odds of both past-year and lifetime STDs. Additional analyses indicated that, regardless of college-attending status, greater odds of past-year STDs were noted among users of alcohol and drugs, and users of alcohol alone, but not among users of drugs alone. CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol use is a robust correlate of STDs. Irrespective of college-attending status, young women and African Americans have a higher rate of STDs than young men and Whites.
Wu, L-T; Ringwalt, CL; Patkar, AA; Hubbard, RL; Blazer, DG
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