Sexual behavior and illicit drug use

Michael W. Ross, Mark L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Sexual behavior in drug users varies in association with the drug used, the drug subculture and setting, and the need to maintain the drug addiction. We review the literature on sexual behavior in drug-using subcultures, most of which centers on HIV risk reduction, and the drug-associated and economic pressures that influence sexual behavior. Most data available are on opioid (predominantly heroin) users and crack cocaine users. The recent phenomenon of the circuit party has led to investigation of the context in which drug use and sex have become the focus of large gay-oriented parties over long weekends. Sexual behavior in association with drugs in Western societies is important for its role in the spread of sexually transmissible pathogens, as well as injection-related pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-310
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Sex Research
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Parts of this research were supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to the first author and a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the second author. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael W. Ross, WHO Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public Health, University of Texas, P.O. Box 20036, Houston TX 77225, USA. (


  • Circuit party
  • Crack
  • Drugs
  • HIV
  • Heroin
  • STDs
  • Sex


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