, Volume 82, Issue 1 Supplement, pp i35-i42

Spatial bridging in a network of drug-using male sex workers

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This study sought to determine whether drug-using male sex workers (MSWs) spatially bridge sexual networks across cities and to determine whether the behaviors of MSWs who bridge differ from the behaviors of those who do not. Data were collected from 42 MSWs in Houston, Texas, between May 2003 and February 2004. Spatial bridging was defined as having traded sex for money in another city before traveling to and trading in Houston. Cities bridged by MSWs were geographically plotted and were primarily located in the Gulf Coast and in Florida. Slightly less than half of MSWs were identified as spatially bridging from one city to another. A significantly higher proportion of MSWs who bridged cities were homosexual (55% vs. 23%) and HIV positive (31% vs. 5%). Those who bridged cities used marijuana and injected drugs more frequently and had significantly more male sex partners than MSWs who did not bridge cities. Despite the small sample size, this study found that many drug-using MSWs spatially bridge sexual networks in cities where they trade sex for money.