Objective: To describe the prevalence of substance use and the associations between adverse early life experiences, sexual behaviour and violence in sexual minority (SM) individuals.
Methods: The Brazilian National Alcohol and Drugs Survey is a probabilistic household survey performed in 2012, collecting data from 4067 Brazilians aged 14 years and older.
Results: 3.4% of the sample declared themselves as sexual minorities, 53.8% female, 66.5% single, mean age of 29.5 years (standard deviation 16.0 years). A high prevalence of alcohol dependence (15.2%) and binge drinking (22.2%) was identified in the SM group. Respondents were more likely to use crack cocaine and hallucinogens, to have been involved in child prostitution, child sexual abuse and to report suicidal ideation in the previous year. Respondents were also more likely to engage in unprotected sex compared to non-sexual minorities. Nearly one-third referred to having suffered homophobic discrimination in their lives. Respondents also reported higher rates of domestic violence (18.9%) and urban violence (18%) among the SM.
Conclusion: The findings reinforce that violence directed at individuals in the Brazilian SM community begins early in life and persists into adulthood when compared to non-sexual minorities. This population is also more exposed to substance use disorders.