Alcohol-use and risky sexual scripts among peruvian men have sex only with men (MSOM)

Published: August 1, 2008

Alcohol-use and risky sexual scripts among peruvian men have sex only with men (MSOM)

Background: Previous research indicates that Peruvian MSOM from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at considerable risk for HIV (9.6% seroprevalence) and that alcohol-use is related to their sexual risk. This qualitative study further examined alcohol-use in the context of sexual risk in order to develop a culturally relevant social/behavioral HIV prevention intervention for Peruvian MSOM.

Methods: We conducted 31 interviews with MSM and 3 focus groups with MSOM and health educators, stakeholders, and activists in four coastal Peruvian cities. Interviews and focus groups were transcribed and the transcripts were summarized and analyzed for salient themes pertaining to alcohol use.

Results: There was consensus in discussions of the roles that alcohol plays in MSM’s lives. There were four alcohol and sex “scripts” that were described repeatedly: 1) Nearly all men reported heavy alcohol-use every “weekend,” from Thursdays through Sundays, at nearly all MSM social gatherings, where they are frequently staggeringly drunk; 2) alcohol impedes condom-use intentions, and is related to not using condoms with casual partners, inability to put on condoms, and impatience to have sex even when condoms are unavailable; 3) domestic violence between partners, particularly targeted at transvestites, which extends into forced sex occasionally; 4) the purchase of alcohol by effeminate men for masculine men in order to obtain sex, which often occurs when both men are drunk and condoms are unavailable.

Conclusions: There was substantial agreement about alcohol use and its involvement with sexual risk and it’s use in maintaining heteronormative gender roles that place men at HIV risk. Many men were fatalistic about HIV and most appeared rarely to question or challenge these socially constructed patterns of behavior or to anticipate them in order to plan to be safe sexually. An HIV prevention intervention that empowers men to critically analyze their behavior and challenge the existing social norms seems warranted.

-Abstract available at link below-

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