Methamphetamine and young men who have sex with men: Understanding patterns and correlates of use and the association with HIV-related sexual risk

Robert Garofalo*, Brian S. Mustanski, David J. McKirnan, Amy Herrick, Geri R. Donenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine patterns, consequences, and correlates of methamphetamine use among adolescent and young adult men who have sex with men (YMSM). Design: Descriptive, bivariate, and hierarchical regression analyses of cross-sectional data. Setting: Howard Brown Health Center, a community-based facility in Chicago, Ill, from August 2004 to September 2005. Participants: Three hundred ten YMSM who completed an anonymous, computer-assisted survey. Main Outcome Measure: Methamphetamine use in the past year. Results: Participants ranged in age from 16 to 24 years (mean age, 20.3 years); 30% were white and 70% were of other race/ethnicity (African American, 33%; Hispanic, 26%; Asian or Pacific Islander, 3%; and other, 8%). Participants reported many high-risk sexual and substance use behaviors. Thirteen percent used methamphetamine in the past year. Methamphetamine use was more common among human immunodeficiency virus-infected participants (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-5.3) and varied by age and race/ethnicity; substantially higher prevalence was reported by older and non-African American YMSM (P<.001). Compared with other illicit substance users, methamphetamine users reported more memory difficulties, impairments in daily activities, and unintended risky sex resulting from substance use (all P<.01). Hierarchical regression identified sexual risk (unprotected intercourse and multiple partners), sexualized social context (eg, Internet sex, sex in a bathhouse or sex club, sex with older partners, and commercial sex), lower self-esteem, and psychological distress as correlated with methamphetamine use among participants (P<.05). Conclusions: A substantial percentage of YMSM in this sample used methamphetamine. Methamphetamine use is a public health problem with significant implications for the health and well-being of YMSM. Methamphetamine use was associated with human immunodeficiency virus-related risk, and patterns of use were predicted by demographic data, sexualized social contexts, and psychological variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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