The impact of alcohol use on the sexual scripts of HIV-positive men who have sex with men

Jeffrey T. Parsons, Kalil J. Vicioso, Joseph C. Punzalan, Perry N. Halkitis, Alexandra Kutnick, Mary M. Velasquez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The literature has failed to form a consensus on the association between alcohol use and unsafe sex among samples of men who have sex with men (MSM). Although drinking behavior may not be causally related to unsafe sex, it is possible that alcohol use plays a role in sexual scripts. In this paper, we assessed the role that alcohol use plays in the sexual experiences of HIV-seropositive MSM in terms of sexual script theory. An ethnically diverse sample (81% men of color) of HIV-positive MSM with alcohol use disorders from the New York City metropolitan area was recruited from a variety of settings frequented by such men. A critical incident measure was used to qualitatively assess contextual issues regarding participants' most recent incident of unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol. Qualitative analysis revealed three basic sexual scripts involving alcohol: routine, spontaneous, and taboo. Each script had its own sources of risk for unsafe sex. Interventions targeting alcohol use and unsafe sex should be sensitive to the role that alcohol plays in the sexual scripts of HIV-positive MSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-172
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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