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Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Substance Abuse

Studies have shown that, when compared with the general population, gay and bisexual men, lesbian, and transgender individuals are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Have higher rates of substance abuse
  • Are less likely to abstain from alcohol and drug use
  • Are more likely to continue heavy drinking into later life[1]

Alcohol and drug use among some men who have sex with men (MSM) can be a reaction to homophobia, discrimination, or violence they experienced due to their sexual orientation and can contribute to other mental health problems.

Substance abuse is associated with a wide-range of mental health and physical problems. It can disrupt relationships, employment, and threaten financial stability.

Alcohol and illegal drug use in some gay and bisexual men also contributes to increased risk for HIV infection and other STDs, especially methamphetamines, amyl nitrates (poppers) and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol may increase their risk for HIV transmission by engaging in risky sexual behaviors or through sharing needles or other injection equipment.

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol or drug addiction and needs help, go to Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator or call 800-662-Help (4357).


  1. Ostrow, D.G. & Stall, R. (2008) Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use among gay and bisexual men.. In Wolitski, R.J., Stall, R., & Valdiserri, R.O., Unequal opportunity: Health disparities affecting gay and bisexual men in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.
 
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