MONDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Methamphetamine abuse by
young adult gay and bisexual males raises their risk of HIV
exposure and infection, a new study finds.
Prior research has suggested that up to 43 percent of gay or
bisexual males age 18 or older have used methamphetamine, which
increases the likelihood of sexual behaviors that boost their risk
of HIV exposure and infection. However, most research focuses on
older gay or bisexual men and little is known about meth use and
sexual behavior among younger males, according to the
For this study, researchers led by Peter Freeman of Northwestern
University in Chicago looked at data collected between January 2005
and August 2006 from 595 gay or bisexual men aged 12 to 24 living
in eight U.S. cities. Of those males, 64 reported methamphetamine
use within the previous 90 days.
Compared to those who had not used hard drugs, the participants
who said they used methamphetamine were more likely to have a
history of sexually transmitted diseases (about 52 percent vs. 21
percent), two or more sex partners in the past 90 days (about 86
percent vs. 63 percent), sex with an injection drug user (51.5
percent vs. about 11 percent), and sex with someone infected with
HIV (about 33 percent vs. 11 percent).
Methamphetamine users were also less likely to use condoms
during every sexual encounter: 33 percent vs. 54 percent.
"The findings of our study suggest that there is a need to develop substance abuse prevention and treatment programs as part of HIV prevention" for this group, Freeman and colleagues wrote.
The study appears in the August issue of the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about