A double epidemic: crystal methamphetamine drug use in relation to HIV transmission among gay men

J Homosex. 2001;41(2):17-35. doi: 10.1300/J082v41n02_02.


Emerging research on methamphetamine use among gay men suggests that growth in the use of this drug could present serious problems for HIV/AIDS prevention within the gay community. This article summarizes current studies on the extent, role, and context of methamphetamine use among gay men and its relationship to high risk sexual behaviors related to HIV transmission. Methamphetamine is often used by gay men to initiate, enhance, and prolong sexual encounters. Use of the drug is, therefore, associated with particular environments where sexual contact among gay men is promoted, such as sex clubs and large "circuit" parties. Research with gay and bisexual men indicates that methamphetamine use is strongly associated with risky sexual behaviors that may transmit HIV. This relationship, coupled with emerging evidence that methamphetamine use is on the rise among gay men, suggests that the drug could exacerbate the HIV/AIDS epidemic among this community. The article offers recommendations for further research and suggestions for prevention programs regarding methamphetamine use by gay men.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Risk
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine