Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 82, Issue 4, pp 601–609 | Cite as

Risky sexual behaviors associated with recreational drug use among men who have sex with men in an international resort area: Challenges and opportunities

  • William W. DarrowEmail author
  • Susan Biersteker
  • Trina Geiss
  • Kelly Chevalier
  • Jodi Clark
  • Yamile Marrero
  • Vanessa Mills
  • Kenneth Obiaja


South Florida is home to a highly transient population of approximately 145,000 men who have sex with men (MSM) and annually hosts over 1.8 million gay and bisexual visitors. To develop more effective interventions for HIV/sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention in this setting, we conducted a cross-sectional study of recreational drug use and risky sexual behaviors among MSM. A standardized, selfadministered questionnaire, reviewed and approved by a university Institutional Review Board, was offered to men 18 years of age and older who reported ever having sex with a man. Men were approached on weekends in five diverse locations in Miami-Dade County and five in Broward County in winter 2004. An honorarium of $10 was offered to those who completed and returned a questionnaire. Of 407 participants, 115 men (28%) lived in Miami-Dade, 147 (36%) lived in Broward, 46 (11%) lived in another county in south Florida, and 99 (24%) lived elsewhere. Overall, 32% reported using one or more “club drugs” in the past year. Club drug use was highly associated with unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) (P<.001). MSM residing outside of south Florida were more likely than local residents to report using cocaine and ketamine and engaging in unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) in the past month (P=.03). Tourists may be even more likely than residents to engage in risky sexual behaviors and use certain recreational drugs. Interventions must be developed, implemented, and evaluated that take into account the unique characteristics of international resort areas.


HIV prevalence International travel Men who have sex with men Recreational drug use Sexual behavior Substance abuse 


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Copyright information

© Oxford University Press on behalf of the New York Academy of Medicine 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • William W. Darrow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan Biersteker
    • 1
  • Trina Geiss
    • 1
  • Kelly Chevalier
    • 1
  • Jodi Clark
    • 1
  • Yamile Marrero
    • 1
  • Vanessa Mills
    • 1
  • Kenneth Obiaja
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert R. Stempel School of Public HealthNorth Miami

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