Department of Justice and Human Services
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Gay and bisexual men continue to suffer the highest burden of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. Since the beginning of the epidemic, substance abuse has been shown to be one of the strongest predictors of sexual risk behaviors and seroconversion among this population. Recent research has focused on additional aspects of health risk disparities among gay and bisexual men, including depression and other mental health problems, childhood sexual abuse, and adult victimization, suggesting that these men are impacted by a syndemic of health risks. The involvement of gay and bisexual men with the criminal justice system is largely absent from the literature. This article describes the nature, extent and predictors of the arrest histories of a sample of gay and bisexual substance users at very high risk for HIV infection and/or transmission. These histories are surprisingly extensive, and are strongly associated with poverty, severe mental distress, substance abuse and dependence, and victimization. The involvement of gay and bisexual men in the criminal justice system deserves a stronger research focus because of the unique challenges facing such men and also because arrests are yet another marker for a host of health risks among them.
Kurtz, S. P. (2008). Arrest Histories of High-Risk Gay and Bisexual Men in Miami: Unexpected Additional Evidence for Syndemic Theory. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 40 (4), 513-521. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2008.10400657