Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS illness and death in the U.S., accounting for 70 percent of new HIV infections. Furthermore, among men who have sex with men (MSM), black MSM are disproportionately at risk of HIV infection. Alcohol consumption may play a role in HIV transmission because it can lead individuals to have sex without using a condom. This study examined the links between condom use and drinking, before and during sex, and alcohol-use problems.
Researchers interviewed 102 black gay and bisexual men in a major West Coast city regarding their alcohol use, sexual behavior, and condom use or non-use during three time periods: lifetime, the previous six months, and the most recent sexual encounter. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was used to identify harmful drinking.
General alcohol-use problems were a better predictor of sex without condom use than drinking before or during a sexual encounter. Thus, more effective interventions for black MSM that address general associations between alcohol-use problems and condom use may be more effective than those that emphasize event-level associations.