Binge use of crack cocaine and sexual risk behaviors among African-American, HIV-positive users

Amy Jo Harzke, Mark L. Williams, Anne M. Bowen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    36 Scopus citations


    This study describes binge use of crack cocaine, binge users, and their sexual risk behaviors in a sample of 303 African-American, HIV-positive users. Recent binge use was defined as, "using as much crack cocaine as you can, until you run out of crack or are unable to use any more" in the last 30 days. Fifty-one percent reported a recent crack binge. The typical crack binge lasted 3.7 days and involved smoking 40 rocks on average. Nearly two-thirds reported their last binge was in their own or another's home. Seventy-two percent had sex during the last binge, with an average of 3.1 partners. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, recent bingers were more likely than non-bingers to consider themselves homeless, to have any income source, to have used crack longer, and to score higher on risk-taking and need for help with their drug problem. In multivariable ordinal and logistic regression analyses, recent bingers had more sex partners in the last six months and 30 days and were more likely to have never used a condom in the last 30 days. Among male users, recent bingers were more likely to report lifetime and recent exchange of money for sex and drugs for sex. Among both male and female users, recent bingers were more likely to report lifetime trading of sex for drugs. African-American, HIV-positive binge users of crack cocaine appear to be at increased risk for HIV transmission. Further investigations of binge crack use and sexual risk behaviors and interventions targeting and tailored to this group should be considered.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1106-1118
    Number of pages13
    JournalAIDS and Behavior
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



    • Binge
    • Crack cocaine
    • HIV
    • High risk sex
    • Risk taking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Infectious Diseases

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