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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Oct 8;90(2-3):135-44. Epub 2007 Mar 29.

Initiation into methamphetamine use for young gay and bisexual men.

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Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), 250 West 26th Street, Suite 300, New York, NY 10001, United States.


Research over the past 10 years has suggested that methamphetamine use has become a significant problem and is associated with risky sexual behaviors among gay and bisexual men. In order to better understand initiation into methamphetamine use among gay and bisexual men, qualitative analyses were performed on a sample of young gay and bisexual men (ages 18-29) in New York City. Participants were recruited as part of a larger study which used time-space sampling to enroll club-going young adults who indicated recent club drug (ecstasy, ketamine, GHB, methamphetamine, cocaine, and/or LSD) use. The data for this paper are derived from the qualitative interviews of 54 gay and bisexual male methamphetamine users. At initiation (1) methamphetamine was used in a social, non-sexual setting for a majority of the participants; (2) participants expressed limited knowledge of methamphetamine; and (3) many participants used cocaine as a basis for comparison when describing various effects of the drug. The understanding that at initiation methamphetamine was not solely used as a sexual enhancement for members of this community may enable health workers to more accurately target potential users when putting forth intervention efforts. Future research should aim to gain a better understanding into the role that methamphetamine plays in non-sexual contexts, particularly among gay and bisexual men who may not be part of the club "scene." The relationship between attitudes towards methamphetamine and other drugs, particularly cocaine, among gay and bisexual men should be explored.

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