Date of Completion

Spring 5-13-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Roman Shrestha, Cheryl Eckert

Honors Major

Allied Health Sciences


Sexualized drug use (SDU), also known as ‘chemsex’ or ‘chem-fun,’ is an emerging public health concern. This HIV risk behavior is a major issue and marginalized communities such as men who have sex with men (MSM) may be overlooked for prevention efforts or struggle to access adequate treatment. This study aims to determine the correlates of SDU to inform interventions, policy, and prevention of SDU. A convenience sample of Malaysian MSM were recruited through advertisements on geosocial networking apps (GSN) for gay men (e.g., Grindr, Hornet) and on popular social media platforms (i.e. Facebook). From June-July 2020, participants completed an anonymous online survey that took an average of 10-12 minutes. Participants answered questions about demographics, sexual health, HIV testing practices, and preference for future HIV prevention programs. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess associations between SDU and participants' characteristics and other variables. Of a sample of 355 participants, the mean age was 33.1 (±8.9) years, about half (53.3%) were Malay, and 84.5% had above a tertiary level of education. Forty-two participants (11.8)% reported engaging in SDU in the past six months. The results of the multivariable logistic regression revealed that the most highly associated factors of participating in SDU in the past 6 months at a 95% CI and an alpha level of 0.05 were age, participation in group sex, and recent injection drug use, and PrEP use in a lifetime. Opportunities for SDU reduction among MSM in Malaysia, exist in prevention efforts that focus on associated factors of SDU. Accessible harm reduction focused on mitigating the associated factors of SDU may result in an overall reduction of SDU prevalence.