Sigma Research

A review of drug use prevalence, harm, and targeted intervention provision for MSM

Harm Reduction International Conference, 12 June 2013, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Speakers: Adam Bourne

In this talk Adam described a scoping review of drug use prevalence, harm and targeted intervention provision among men who have sex with men (MSM) in different parts of the world. Establishing the prevalence of drug use among MSM is complicated by diverse data collection and reporting methods, and the fact that sex between men remains illegal in many parts of this world. Available data suggest that MSM primarily use stimulant drugs, such as ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines, while use of opiates is comparatively low. Higher rates of stimulant drug use were observed among black gay men, young gay men, men in urban areas and certain drugs were more commonly used among men with diagnosed HIV. A range of psychological, social and physical harms (including greater likelihood of HIV transmission risk behaviours) were identified, but targeted services to help reduce such harms were scarce. Stimulants frequently play an important role in men’s social and sexual lives, but can also be the cause of significant harm. MSM often feel uncomfortable, or are unwelcome, in generic harm reduction services given the types of drugs they use or the contexts within which they do. 

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