Sexual Behaviors Linked to Drug and Alcohol Use Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in China

Chen Zhang, Han Zhu Qian, Lu Yin, Yu Liu, Shiela M. Strauss, Yuhua Ruan, Yiming Shao, Hongyan Lu, Sten H. Vermund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: High-risk sexual behaviors drive the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM). Alcohol consumption and use of club drugs may increase sexual risk behaviors. We evaluated effects of drug and alcohol use on sexual behaviors with both their male and female partners as well as on HIV and syphilis infections among MSM in China. Methods: As the part of a community randomized clinical trial that conducted among MSM in Beijing from 2013 to 2015, we recruited a total of 3,680 participants cross-sectionally. A self-administered questionnaire was employed to collect information regarding demographics, sexual behaviors, and a history of alcohol and drug use. Blood sample was collected for HIV and syphilis testing. Results: A total of 3,588 MSM completed the survey and were included in the data analysis. The mean age was 29.9 with 97.3% of Han-ethnicity and 85.0% unmarried. The HIV and syphilis prevalence was 12.7% and 7.4%, respectively. Drug use was significantly associated with higher odds of HIV infection (aOR = 1.3, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.0,1.6), but not associated with syphilis. A higher level of alcohol consumption was similarly associated with higher odds of HIV risks with both male (e.g., condomless sex acts) and female partners (e.g., numbers of sexual partners). Conclusion: The association between drug and alcohol use and high-risk behaviors is notable among MSM in China. Integrated HIV interventions that target substance use among MSM may be more effective than programs that only target HIV alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1830
Number of pages10
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number14
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016


  • Alcohol use
  • China
  • HIV
  • drug use
  • sexual behavior; men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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