Men who have sex with men (MSM) in India are a core risk group for HIV. Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with increased sexual risk-taking behaviours in many cultures, in particular among MSM. However, no studies to date have explored alcohol use and HIV risk among MSM in India. MSM in Chennai, India (n = 210) completed an interviewer-administered behavioural and psychosocial assessment. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression procedures examined behavioural and demographic associations with weekly alcohol consumption. Twenty-eight percent of the sample (n = 58) reported using alcohol at least weekly to the point of being buzzed/intoxicated, which was associated with older age, being married to a woman, being panthi (masculine appearing, predominantly insertive partners) versus kothi (feminine acting/appearing and predominantly receptive partners), weekly tobacco use, unprotected anal sex and unprotected vaginal sex in the three months prior to study enrolment (all P < 0.05). In a multivariable model, unprotected vaginal sex in the previous three months and being married to a women were unique variables associated with weekly alcohol use (all P < 0.01). Further investigation of alcohol use within the context of sexual risk taking is warranted among Indian MSM. Panthis and MSM who are married to women may be particularly likely to benefit from interventions to decrease alcohol intake and concurrent unsafe sex.
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