AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1373–1382 | Cite as

High Substance Use and HIV Risk Behavior Among Young Argentine Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Iván C. BalánEmail author
  • Timothy Frasca
  • María A. Pando
  • Rubén O. Marone
  • Victoria Barreda
  • Curtis Dolezal
  • Alex Carballo-Diéguez
  • María M. Ávila
Original Paper


In the United States young men who have sex with men have higher rates of substance use, higher HIV incidence, and less frequent HIV testing than their heterosexual counterparts and older MSM. Less is known about comparable populations in Latin America. As part of an epidemiological study, MSM were recruited through Respondent Driven Sampling in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina and answered a computerized behavioral survey. From the total of 500 MSM enrolled, a sub-sample of 233 aged 18–25 was analyzed. The sample was concentrated among lower socioeconomic strata, and only 16% identified as gay. Nearly half reported male, female, and transvestite sexual partners. Reported substance use was widespread ranging from 61% for marijuana to 20% for pasta base (cocaine sulfate). Seventy percent of the sample had never been tested for HIV infection; 3% tested positive for HIV and 8% for syphilis during the study.


MSM YMSM HIV Substance use Sexual risk Argentina 


En los Estados Unidos, los hombres jóvenes que tienen sexo con hombres (JHSH) tienen tasas de uso de sustancias más altas de los HSH de mayor edad y de sus pares heterosexuales, además de una mayor incidencia del VIH y menor frecuencia de hacerse el examen del VIH. De las poblaciones comparables en América Latina, se conoce menos. Como parte de un estudio epidemiológico, 500 HSH fueron reclutados a través del método de Muestreo Dirigido por los Participantes (en inglés RDS) en el área metropolitano de Buenos Aires, Argentina y contestaron una encuesta conductual computarizada. Una submuestra de 233 hombres de 18 a 25 años de edad fue analisada. Se concentró en estratos socioeconómicos más bajos y sólo el 16% se identificaron como gay. Casi la mitad de la submuestra reportó haber tenido parejas sexuales masculinas, femeninas y travestíes. El uso de sustancias fue común, desde 61% consumidores de marihuana hasta 20% sulfato de cocaína (pasta base). El 70% de la muestra nunca se había hecho una prueba para el VIH: 3% resultaron positivos para VIH y 8% para sífilis en el transcurso del estudio.



This research was supported by Grant No. R01 MH073410 from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to Alex Carballo-Diéguez (principal investigator). Additional support came from the NIMH to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (Grant No. P30-MH43520, principal investigators Anke A. Ehrhardt and Robert H. Remien). We thank the research assistants Miguel Zapatela and Miguel Verón as well as the the participants who volunteered their time and candidly expressed their opinions on very intimate topics.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iván C. Balán
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Timothy Frasca
    • 1
  • María A. Pando
    • 2
  • Rubén O. Marone
    • 3
  • Victoria Barreda
    • 3
  • Curtis Dolezal
    • 1
    • 4
  • Alex Carballo-Diéguez
    • 1
    • 4
  • María M. Ávila
    • 2
  1. 1.HIV Center for Clinical & Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Retrovirus y SIDA (INBIRS)Universidad de Buenos Aires-CONICETBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Nexo Asociación CivilBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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