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Drug Use and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Gay and Bisexual Men Who Attend Circuit Parties: A Venue-Based Comparison

Colfax Grant N.; Mansergh, Gordon; Guzman, Robert; Vittinghoff, Eric; Marks, Gary; Rader, Melissa; Buchbinder, Susan
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: December 1st, 2001
Articles: PDF Only

Context:HIV risk behavior among urban gay/bisexual men has recently increased. High-risk sexual activity and drug use may be particularly high during circuit party (CP) weekends, during which gay/bisexual men congregate for social activities and dancing.

Objectives:To compare prevalence of risk behaviors during CP weekends with those during non-CP weekends.

Design:Cross-sectional study.

Participants:295 gay/bisexual men from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Main Outcome Measures:Drug use and sexual risk behavior during a San Francisco CP weekend, a CP weekend held in another geographic area (distant weekends), and two non-CP weekends.

Results:During their most recent distant CP weekend, 80% of participants used methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), 66% ketamine, 43% crystal methamphetamines, 29% gamma-hydroxybutyrate or gamma-butyrolactone (GHB/GBL), 14% sildenafil (Viagra), and 12% amyl nitrites (poppers); 53% used four or more drugs. Drug use prevalence was greater during CP than non-CP weekends (p < .001). Unprotected anal sex with partners of unknown or opposite HIV serostatus was most prevalent during distant CP weekends, reported by 21% of HIV-positive and 9% of HIV-negative participants. In multivariate analysis, predictors of unprotected anal sex with opposite or unknown HIV serostatus partners included being HIV-positive (odds ratio [OR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-7.5), and weekend use of crystal methamphetamines (OR 2.4; 95% CI, 1.1 -4.9), sildenafil (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 2.0-7.3), and amyl nitrites (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-4.0).

Conclusions:Prevalence of high-risk activity during these weekends suggests significant potential for HIV transmission in this population. Public health programs in communities hosting CPs should aim to reduce rates of drug use and sexual risk behavior among CP participants, especially HIV-positive men.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Grant Colfax, San Francisco Department of Public Health HIV Research Branch, 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94102-6033 U.S.A.; e-mail:

Manuscript received April 3, 2001; accepted August 20, 2001.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.