Risk-taking behaviors of gay and bisexual men in New York city post 9/11

Lindsay S. Espinosa, Chelsea B. Maddock, Hannah W. Osier, Stephanie A. Doig, Perry N. Halkitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Until now, the reactions of gay and bisexual populations have been largely overlooked in response to terror and disaster. This study assesses risk-taking behaviors in gay and bisexual men two weeks before and after the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan. For the purposes of this study, risk-taking behaviors include drug use and unprotected anal sex. These behaviors and associated desires were examined in relation to race/ethnicity, age, geographic location, and HIV status, within and across time. The results of this study demonstrate that HIV status may be a pivotal demographic feature in understanding risk-taking behaviors post disaster. No changes in drug use were reported pre and post 9/11. However, there was an increase in risky sexual behaviors in relation to serostatus, with HIV-positive men reporting a higher number of sexual partners post 9/11. In contrast, the number of sexual partners remained constant in HIV-negative men. There was also an interaction effect, demonstrating that HIV-positive men were more likely than HIV-negative men to act on their desire for sex. Thus, as a population already faced with the prospect of death, HIV-positive men may be a population more vulnerable in the face of terror and disaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-877
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010


  • 911
  • Bisexual
  • Drug use
  • Gay
  • Risk taking
  • Sexual behavior
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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