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Problem drinking is associated with increased prevalence of sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Lima, Peru

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Alcohol use is an important but understudied HIV risk factor among men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly in Latin America. We studied the relationship between problem drinking and sexual risk among MSM in Lima, Peru.


We recruited 718 participants from 24 neighborhoods for a study on sexually transmitted infections and community-building among MSM. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors independently associated with problem drinking, which was defined via the CAGE Questionnaire.


Of 718 participants, 58% met criteria for problem drinking. In univariate analysis, problem drinkers were significantly more likely to report failing to always use condoms, use alcohol or drugs prior to their most recent sexual encounter, report a history of sexual coercion and to engage in transactional sex. Problem drinkers also reported significantly higher numbers of recent and lifetime sexual partners. In multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with problem drinking included a history of sexual coercion [OR 1.8 95%, CI 1.2-2.6], having consumed alcohol prior to the most recent sexual encounter [OR 2.1 95%, CI 1.5-2.9], receiving compensation for sex in the last six months [OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.2] or having reported a prior HIV+ test [OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.2-0.9].


We found a high prevalence of problem drinking among MSM in Lima, Peru, which was associated with increased sexual risk in our study. Of note, individuals who were already HIV-infected were less likely to be problem drinkers. Further studies and targeted interventions to reduce problem drinking among MSM are warranted.

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