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Addict Behav. 2008 Jan;33(1):83-93. Epub 2007 Aug 8.

A comparative analysis of methamphetamine use: black gay and bisexual men in relation to men of other races.

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Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University, United States.


We investigated the patterns and correlates of methamphetamine use among Black gay and bisexual men who participated in a large-scale study of club drug use, and sexual behavior in combination with club drug use in New York City. Almost half of the Black men (49%) in the sample indicated use of methamphetamine in the 4 months prior to assessment, a proportion somewhat lower than their White counterparts. In terms of the overall sample, the proportion of the Black men in the study was equivalent to the proportion of methamphetamine users who identified as Black. Black methamphetamine users tended not to reside in neighborhoods considered traditionally gay, were more likely to be HIV-positive, have lower educational attainment, and have lower levels of income than other methamphetamine users. In terms of frequency and reasons for use, Black methamphetamine users did not differ in any substantive way compared to other races and ethnicities. In addition, they did not differ along any key demographic lines from Black non-methamphetamine users. Poly-drug use was common among all Black men in the sample, with almost all methamphetamine users also reporting use of cocaine, but cocaine users not necessarily reporting methamphetamine use. Once a drug that was considered popular only among White gay men, methamphetamine use has been shown to transcend racial and ethnic lines. Because of the synergy that exists between use of the drug, the concentrated levels of HIV in the Black gay population, and the sexual disinhibition engendered with methamphetamine use, this drug presents a potentially mounting public health challenge.

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