Prevalence and correlates of hazardous alcohol consumption and binge drinking among men who have sex with men (MSM) in San Francisco

Glenn Milo Santos, Christopher Rowe, Jaclyn Hern, John E. Walker, Arsheen Ali, Marcial Ornelaz, Maximo Prescott, Phillip Coffin, Willi McFarland, Henry Raymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe heavy alcohol use patterns and correlates in a diverse sample of MSM. Methods We used respondent-driven sampling (RDS) to enroll 252 alcohol-using MSM in San Francisco from March 2015-July 2017. We examined heavy alcohol use patterns and conducted RDS-adjusted multivariable analyses to characterize correlates of hazardous alcohol consumption and binge drinking. Results RDS-adjusted prevalence of weekly and at least weekly binge drinking was 24.9% and 19.3%, respectively. Hazardous consumption was common; prevalence of mid-and highlevels of hazardous drinking was 11.4% and 29.9%, respectively. In multivariable analyses, identifying as Hispanic/Latino or mixed/other race; being moderately or extremely interested in reducing alcohol use; ever receiving alcohol treatment; using ecstasy; reporting syphilis diagnosis; and having more than 5 male partners were independently associated with hazardous alcohol consumption. Less hazardous consumption was associated with having a bachelor's degree or completing post-graduate studies; and not being in a relationship. Reducing alcohol use; and having multiple male sex partners were associated with higher odds of at least weekly binge drinking. Lower odds of binge drinking were associated with completing post-graduate studies. Moreover, for the outcomes of hazardous alcohol consumption and binge-drinking, we observed significant interaction effects between race/ethnicity and interest in reducing alcohol, past receipt of alcohol treatment, use of ecstasy, syphilis diagnosis, and number of male partners. Conclusion Among alcohol-using MSM in San Francisco, heavy drinking patterns were common and independently associated with greater number of male sexual partners and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Moreover, significant racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities related to heavy alcohol use were observed and race/ethnicity modified the effect of the risk factors associated with these outcomes. These findings underscore the need to develop more MSM-specific interventions that jointly address heavy alcohol use and HIV/STI risk, as well as culturally-tailored and targeted strategies to alleviate health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0202170
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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