High-risk drug use and sexual behaviors among out-of-treatment drug users: An aging and life course perspective

William D. Lopez, Patrick M. Krueger, Scott T. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


High-risk injection drug use and its accompanying sexual behaviors have large social and financial costs. However, little is known about how age and age at first drug use are related to high-risk injection or sex behaviors. The current study draws on life course perspectives and data from the NIDA Cooperative Agreement to examine the relationship between eight high-risk behavior variables and age and age at first drug use. Random effects negative binomial regression models reveal that the frequency of high-risk sexual behaviors in the past month decreases up to 28% with each decade of age, although the frequency of high-risk injection behaviors in the past month increases by up to 62% with each decade of age. Both high-risk injection and high-risk sex behaviors are lower among those who initiated first drug use at later ages. Previous research has indicated the importance of interventions to reduce the high-risk sexual behaviors of older drug users. The current study suggests a refocusing of public health efforts on their high-risk injection habits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010



  • Aging
  • Drug use
  • High-risk
  • Life course
  • Sexual behaviors

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