Recreational drug use and HIV-risk sexual behavior among men frequenting gay social venues

Perry N. Halkitis, Jeffrey T. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complex relationships between recreational non-injection drug use and HIV sexual risk behaviors have been documented throughout the epidemic. The purpose of this study was to (1) assess the extent of non-injection recreational drug use among gay and bisexual men frequenting gay social venues, as well as to assess recent initiation of substance use, especially “club drugs” and (2) document the interaction between drug use and risky sexual practices. Street recruitment methods were used to administer a survey to 202 gay or bisexual men recruited at ten gay social venues in New York City. The majority of participants reported substance use, and more than half reported the use of drugs other than alcohol. Participation in gay social venues such as bars, dance clubs, and bathhouses was associated with more substance use. Polydrug use, participation in gay venues, and HIV status were found to be associated with unprotected behaviors while under the influence. In multivariate analyses, the use of inhalant nitrates and alcohol were found to be the two substances that best predicted unprotected oral and analsexual behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Drug use
  • Gay community
  • Gay/bisexual men
  • Sexual behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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