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AIDS Educ Prev. 2010 Aug;22(4):286-98. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2010.22.4.286.

Harassment, discrimination, violence, and illicit drug use among young men who have sex with men.

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Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research Program, Saban Research Institute, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


We examined the relationship among social discrimination, violence, and illicit drug use among an ethnically diverse cohort of young men who have sex with men (YMSM) residing in Los Angeles. Five Hundred twenty-six YMSM (aged 18-24 years) were recruited using a venue-based, stratified probability sampling design. Surveys assessed childhood financial hardship, violence (physical assault, sexual assault, intimate partner violence), social discrimination (homophobia and racism), and illicit drug use in the past 3 months. Analyses examined main and interaction effects of key variables on drug use. Experiences of financial hardship, physical intimate partner violence and homophobia predicted drug use. Although African American participants were less likely to report drug use than their Caucasian peers, those who experienced greater sexual racism were at significantly greater risk for drug use. Racial/ethnic minority YMSM were at increased risk for experiencing various forms of social discrimination and violence that place them at increased risk for drug use.

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