Non-prescription drug use by gay men in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Informa Healthcare
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Drug and Alcohol Review, 1999, 18 (4), pp. 425 - 433
Issue Date:
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This study investigated the prevalence of non-prescription and injecting drug use among a non-clinical sample of gay and homosexually active men and examined what distinguished men who had recently injected drugs from other gay men. Gay and homosexually active men from three cohort studies in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia (N=1438) were interviewed between June 1995 and July 1996. Three- quarters of the men reported using drugs in the 6 months prior to interview and 10% had injected drugs in this period. It was concluded that drug use is normative among gay men in Australian cities. Recent drug use without injecting was associated with high socioeconomic status and gay community attachment. Men who had recently injected drugs were as attached to gay community as men who had used without injecting. Multivariate analysis found that injecting drugs was more common among younger men and men who were HIV positive. Socioeconomic differences between the men who had injected recently and other men were possibly related to the higher rates of HIV infection among the men who injected and injecting drugs may be part of an HIV positive subculture. Men who injected drugs were more likely to have received money for sex and there was a significant minority of injectors who did not identify as gay, suggesting that there is a small subgroup of men who are likely to be injecting in contexts outside gay community.
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