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Qualitative Findings from the Men of African American Legacy Empowering Self (MAALES) Project: Sex, Sexual Identity and Substance Abuse among African American MSM. John K. Williams, M.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
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Qualitative Findings from the Men of African American Legacy Empowering Self (MAALES) Project: Sex, Sexual Identity and Substance Abuse among African American MSM
John K. Williams, M.D.
Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
University of California, Los Angeles
Mattison, Ross, Wolfson, Franklin & San Diego HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center, 2001
African Americans have reported slightly higher rates of current illicit drug use (9.7% vs. 8.1%).
Significant differences have been noted regarding drugs of choice and frequency of use among Black versus other race MSM, but few data are available on drug use patterns within Black MSM subgroups.
Types of drugs used, drug-use patterns, and the sexual & social contexts in which drug use occurs are likely intertwined with socio-cultural factors (i.e., racism, homophobia, sexism, levels of affiliation to gay & ethnic communities)
Black MSM are more likely than MSM of other race/ethnicities to be behaviorally bisexual and non-gay-identified.
In the six-city Young Men’s Survey of MSM ages 15-29, 18% of Black compared to 13% of Hispanic and 8% of White MSM were classified as “nondisclosers” regarding their sexual activity with other men (Bingham et al., 2003).
Some research indicates that NGI and bisexual MSM may be more likely to use drugs than gay identifying MSM.
Given the well-documented association of drug and alcohol use with risky sexual behaviors, there exists a need to better understand drug use patterns, particularly stimulant use, among MSM who are behaviorally bisexual or non-gay identifying.
Understanding the psychosocial and cultural issues influencing drug use and sexual behavior/identity is essential to HIV-risk reduction.
We analyzed data from 7 focus group discussion with NGI and bisexual African American MSM/W in order to explore the role that drugs and alcohol play in same-sex sexuality.
Involves six two-hour group sessions held over a three-week period & lead by two ethnically matched co-facilitators.
While each session focuses on a unique theme based on a different Adinkra (West Ghana) symbol, the curriculum for each week centers on a temporal focus, the past, present and future.
The question specific to the use of drugs and its
relation to the men’s sexual lives was framed as:
What is the role drugs and alcohol play in
sexually active African American MSM’s lives?
Probes were used when necessary to solicit
additional or more detailed responses.
I think, uh, that drug use and alcohol abuse is the major reason why HIV is out of control today. Because even straight men know that they can go and make money with having a guy suck them… so they can get that next hit…when people are on drugs and intoxicated, they tend to be less careless about, they're not thinking about no condom.… if you want that hit bad enough… I don't care how many wives and how many kids you got, you want that next hit. (HIV-positive group).
Peeping around the corner and trying to get [known drug-using MSM] in places where nobody is really looking [under the guise of using drugs] in order to engage in sex.