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AIDS Educ Prev. 2005 Oct;17(5):418-29.

Substance use, substance choice, and unprotected anal intercourse among young Asian American and Pacific Islander men who have sex with men.

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  • 1Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California-San Francisco, 50 Beale Street, Ste.1300, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.


Substance use has been shown to be an important factor associated with having unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) among Asian and Pacific Islander (API) men who have sex with men (MSM). However, little is known about which substances are used in conjunction with sexual activity and whether having UAI varies by substance choice in this population. From January 2000 to September 2001, we sampled API MSM aged 18-29 years from 30 gay-identified venues in San Francisco, California, and interviewed 496 API men face-to-face using a standardized questionnaire. Overall, 47% of the sample reported UAI in the past 6 months. During the same time period, 32% and 34% reported being "high" or "buzzed" on alcohol and drugs during sex, respectively. The most common drugs used in conjunction with sex were methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("ecstasy"; 19%), followed by marijuana (14%), inhalant nitrites ("poppers"; 11%), and crystal methamphetamine ("crystal"; 10%). In a multivariate model, we observed associations between UAI and being high or buzzed on ecstasy (odds ratio [OR] = 2.62; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.37, 5.02) and poppers during sex (OR = 3.29; 95% CI = 1.50, 7.25). However, being high or buzzed on alcohol, marijuana, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and crystal methamphetamine during sex had no association with UAI. One third of sampled young API MSM used drugs or alcohol during sex. The co-occurrence of ecstasy and popper use and unprotected sex underscores the need to develop HIV prevention programs focusing on particular drugs.

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