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1.  Are HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men Emerging in the Middle East and North Africa?: A Systematic Review and Data Synthesis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(8):e1000444.
A systematic review by Laith Abu-Raddad and colleagues collates and analyzes the epidemiology of HIV among men who have sex with men in Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Background
Men who have sex with men (MSM) bear a disproportionately higher burden of HIV infection than the general population. MSM in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are a largely hidden population because of a prevailing stigma towards this type of sexual behavior, thereby limiting the ability to assess infection transmission patterns among them. It is widely perceived that data are virtually nonexistent on MSM and HIV in this region. The objective of this review was to delineate, for the first time, the evidence on the epidemiology of HIV among MSM in MENA.
Methods and Findings
This was a systematic review of all biological, behavioral, and other related data on HIV and MSM in MENA. Sources of data included PubMed (Medline), international organizations' reports and databases, country-level reports and databases including governmental and nongovernmental organization publications, and various other institutional documents. This review showed that onsiderable data are available on MSM and HIV in MENA. While HIV prevalence continues at low levels among different MSM groups, HIV epidemics appear to be emerging in at least few countries, with a prevalence reaching up to 28% among certain MSM groups. By 2008, the contribution of MSM transmission to the total HIV notified cases increased and exceeded 25% in several countries. The high levels of risk behavior (4–14 partners on average in the last six months among different MSM populations) and of biomarkers of risks (such as herpes simplex virus type 2 at 3%–54%), the overall low rate of consistent condom use (generally below 25%), the relative frequency of male sex work (20%–76%), and the substantial overlap with heterosexual risk behavior and injecting drug use suggest potential for further spread.
Conclusions
This systematic review and data synthesis indicate that HIV epidemics appear to be emerging among MSM in at least a few MENA countries and could already be in a concentrated state among several MSM groups. There is an urgent need to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services in a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to prevent the worst of HIV transmission among MSM in the Middle East and North Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US. But, as the disease rapidly spread, it became clear that AIDS also affects heterosexual men and women. Now three decades on, more than 30 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and, globally, most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). In some countries, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important transmission route. Moreover, although the global prevalence of HIV infection (the proportion the world's population infected with HIV) has stabilized, the prevalence of HIV infection among MSM seems to be increasing in multiple countries and new and resurgent HIV epidemics among MSM populations are being frequently reported.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the US and the UK, the MSM population is visible and has helped to raise awareness about the risks of HIV transmission through male-to-male sexual contact. In many other countries, MSM are much less visible, fearing discrimination, stigmatization (being considered socially unacceptable) or arrest. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA, a geographical region that encompasses countries that share historical, socio-cultural, linguistic and religious characteristics), MSM are the most hidden HIV risk group. Consequently, very little is known about HIV transmission patterns among MSM in MENA. Indeed, it is widely thought that there is virtually no information available on the epidemiology (causes, distribution, and control) of HIV among MSM in this region. In this systematic review and data synthesis, the researchers use predefined search criteria to identify all the published and unpublished data on the epidemiology of HIV among MSM in MENA and combine (synthesize) these data to produce a coherent picture of the HIV epidemic in this potentially key group of people for HIV transmission in this region.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 26 articles and 51 other country-level reports and sources of data that included data on the prevalence of male-to-male sexual contact, HIV transmission, levels of high-risk behavior, and the extent of knowledge about HIV among MSM in MENA. The prevalence of HIV infection among MSM was low in most countries but high in others. For example, the infection rate in Pakistan was 27.6% among one MSM group. Importantly, there was some evidence of increasing HIV prevalence and emerging epidemics among MSM in the region. Thus, by 2008, MSM transmission was responsible for more than a quarter of notified cases of HIV in several countries. Worryingly, MSM were involved in several types of HIV-related high risk behavior. For example, they had, on average, between 4 and 14 sexual partners in the past six months, their rates of consistent condom use were generally below 25% and, in some countries, MSM frequently reported injecting drug use, another common mode of HIV transmission. In addition, 20%–75.5% of MSM exchanged sex for money and contact between MSM and female sex workers and other female sexual partners was often common. Finally, although the level of basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS was high, the level of comprehensive knowledge was limited with a high proportion of MSM perceiving their risk of contracting HIV as low.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that there is considerable and increasing data about HIV transmission and risk behavior among MSM in MENA. However, the quality of this evidence varies greatly. Little has been collected over time in individual populations and, because only the visible part of the MSM populations in many MENA countries has been sampled, these findings may not be representative of all MSM in this region. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that HIV epidemics are emerging among MSM in several MENA countries. Importantly, the high levels of risk behaviors practiced by many MSM in MENA mean that MSM could become the pivotal risk group for HIV transmission in this region in the next decade. There is, therefore, an urgent need to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services among MSM in this region to limit the size of the HIV epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000444.
Information about the status of the HIV epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa can be found in the World Bank/UNAIDS/WHO report Characterizing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for strategic action
Information about the global HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men can be found in the World Bank report The Global HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV transmission and transmission in gay men and other MSM and on safer sex
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV, AIDS and men who have sex with men and on HIV and AIDS prevention (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000444
PMCID: PMC3149074  PMID: 21829329
2.  Sexual behaviour, recreational drug use and hepatitis C co-infection in HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in the United Kingdom: results from the ASTRA study 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19630.
Introduction
Transmission of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United Kingdom is ongoing. We explore associations between self-reported sexual behaviours and drug use with cumulative HCV prevalence, as well as new HCV diagnosis.
Methods
ASTRA is a cross-sectional questionnaire study including 2,248 HIV-diagnosed MSM under care in the United Kingdom during 2011–2012. Socio-demographic, lifestyle, HIV-related and sexual behaviour data were collected during the study. One thousand seven hundred and fifty two (≥70%) of the MSM who consented to linkage of ASTRA and clinical information (prior to and post questionnaire) were included. Cumulative prevalence of HCV was defined as any positive anti-HCV or HCV-RNA test result at any point prior to questionnaire completion. We excluded 536 participants with clinical records only after questionnaire completion. Among the remaining 1,216 MSM, we describe associations of self-reported sexual behaviours and recreational drug use in the three months prior to ASTRA with cumulative HCV prevalence, using modified Poisson regression with robust error variances. New HCV was defined as any positive anti-HCV or HCV-RNA after questionnaire completion. We excluded 591 MSM who reported ever having a HCV diagnosis at questionnaire, any positive HCV result prior to questionnaire or did not have any HCV tests after the questionnaire. Among the remaining 1,195 MSM, we describe occurrence of new HCV diagnosis during follow-up according to self-reported sexual behaviours and recreational drug use three months prior to questionnaire (Fisher's exact test).
Results
Cumulative HCV prevalence among MSM prior to ASTRA was 13.3% (95% CI 11.5–15.4). Clinic- and age-adjusted prevalence ratios (95% CI) for cumulative HCV prevalence were 4.6 (3.1–6.7) for methamphetamine, 6.5 (3.5–12.1) for injection drugs, 2.3 (1.6–3.4) for gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), 1.6 (1.3–2.0) for nitrites, 1.7 (1.5–2.0) for all condom-less sex (CLS), 2.1 (1.7–2.5) for CLS-HIV-seroconcordant, 1.3 (0.9–1.9) for CLS-HIV-serodiscordant, 2.0 (1.6–2.5) for group sex, 1.5 (1.2–1.9) for more than 10 new sexual partners in the past year. Among 1,195 MSM with 2.2 years [IQR 1.5–2.4] median follow-up, there were 7 new HCV cases during 2,033 person-years at risk. Incidence was 3.5 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI 1.6–7.2). New HCV was recorded in 1.3% MSM who used methamphetamine versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.385); 3.7% MSM who injected recreational drugs versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.148); 2.9% MSM who used GHB versus 0.4% MSM who did not (p=0.003); 1.5% MSM who used nitrites versus 0.2% MSM who did not (p=0.019); 1.1% MSM having CLS versus 0.3% MSM who did not (p=0.084); 1.7% MSM having CLS-HIV-serodiscordant versus 0.4% MSM who did not (p=0.069); 0.9% MSM who had CLS-HIV-seroconcordant versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.318); 0.8% MSM who had group sex versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.463); and 1.6% MSM with =10 new sexual partners in the previous year versus 0.2% MSM with no or up to 9 new partners (p=0.015).
Conclusions
Self-reported recent use of recreational and injection drugs, condom-less sex and multiple new sexual partners are associated with pre-existing HCV infection and, with the exception of injection drugs, appear to be predictive of new HCV co-infection among HIV-diagnosed MSM.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.4.19630
PMCID: PMC4224924  PMID: 25394134
3.  Elevated Risk for HIV Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 2000–2006: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e339.
Background
Recent reports of high HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union (FSU) suggest high levels of HIV transmission among MSM in low- and middle-income countries. To investigate the global epidemic of HIV among MSM and the relationship of MSM outbreaks to general populations, we conducted a comprehensive review of HIV studies among MSM in low- and middle-income countries and performed a meta-analysis of reported MSM and reproductive-age adult HIV prevalence data.
Methods and Findings
A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted using systematic methodology. Data regarding HIV prevalence and total sample size was sequestered from each of the studies that met inclusion criteria and aggregate values for each country were calculated. Pooled odds ratio (OR) estimates were stratified by factors including HIV prevalence of the country, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)–classified level of HIV epidemic, geographic region, and whether or not injection drug users (IDUs) played a significant role in given epidemic. Pooled ORs were stratified by prevalence level; very low-prevalence countries had an overall MSM OR of 58.4 (95% CI 56.3–60.6); low-prevalence countries, 14.4 (95% CI 13.8–14.9); and medium- to high-prevalence countries, 9.6 (95% CI 9.0–10.2). Significant differences in ORs for HIV infection among MSM in were seen when comparing low- and middle-income countries; low-income countries had an OR of 7.8 (95% CI 7.2–8.4), whereas middle-income countries had an OR of 23.4 (95% CI 22.8–24.0). Stratifying the pooled ORs by whether the country had a substantial component of IDU spread resulted in an OR of 12.8 (95% CI 12.3–13.4) in countries where IDU transmission was prevalent, and 24.4 (95% CI 23.7–25.2) where it was not. By region, the OR for MSM in the Americas was 33.3 (95% CI 32.3–34.2); 18.7 (95% CI 17.7–19.7) for Asia; 3.8 (95% CI 3.3–4.3) for Africa; and 1.3 (95% CI 1.1–1.6) for the low- and middle-income countries of Europe.
Conclusions
MSM have a markedly greater risk of being infected with HIV compared with general population samples from low- and middle-income countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. ORs for HIV infection in MSM are elevated across prevalence levels by country and decrease as general population prevalence increases, but remain 9-fold higher in medium–high prevalence settings. MSM from low- and middle-income countries are in urgent need of prevention and care, and appear to be both understudied and underserved.
From a systematic review, Chris Beyrer and colleagues conclude that men who have sex with men in the Americas, Asia, and Africa have a markedly greater risk of being HIV-infected than does the general population.
Editors' Summary
Background.
AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in New York and California. But, as the disease rapidly spread around the world, it became clear that AIDS also affected heterosexual men and women. Now, a quarter of a century later, 40 million people are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the organism that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and in sub-Saharan Africa, the region most badly hit by HIV/AIDS, heterosexual transmission predominates. However, globally, 5%–10% of all HIV infections are thought to be in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses gay, bisexual, transgendered, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men), and in several high-income countries, including the US, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important HIV transmission route.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the US, the MSM population is visible and there is considerable awareness about the risks of HIV transmission associated with sex between men. In many other countries, MSM are much less visible. They remain invisible because they fear discrimination, stigmatization (being considered socially unacceptable), or arrest—sex between men is illegal in 85 countries. Consequently, MSM are often under-represented in HIV surveillance systems and in prevention and care programs. If the AIDS epidemic is going to be halted, much more needs to be known about HIV prevalence (the proportion of the population that is infected) among MSM. In this study, the researchers have done a systematic review (a type of research where the results of existing studies are brought together) on published reports of HIV prevalence among MSM in low- and middle-income countries to get a better picture of the global epidemic of HIV in this population.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers found 83 published studies that reported HIV prevalence in 38 low- and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Eastern Europe. When the results were pooled—in what statisticians call a meta-analysis—MSM were found to have a 19.3-times greater chance of being infected with HIV than the general population. This is described as a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 19.3. The researchers also did several subgroup analyses where they asked whether factors such as injection drug use (another risk factor for HIV transmission), per capita income, geographical region, or the HIV prevalence in the general population were associated with differential risk (increase in odds) of HIV infection compared to the general population. They found, for example, that in countries where the prevalence of HIV in the general population was very low (less than 1 adult in 1,000 infected) the pooled OR for MSM compared to the general population was 58.4; where it was high (more than 1 adult in 20 infected), the pooled OR for MSM was 9.6.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that MSM living in low- to middle-income countries have a greater risk of HIV infection than the general populations of these countries. The subgroup analyses indicate that the high HIV prevalence among MSM is not limited to any one region or income level or to countries with any specific HIV prevalence or injection drug use level. Although the small number and design of the studies included in the meta-analysis may affect the numerical accuracy of these findings, the clear trend toward a higher HIV prevalence of among MSM suggests that HIV surveillance efforts should be expanded to include MSM in those countries where they are currently ignored. Efforts should also be made to include MSM in HIV prevention programs and to improve the efficacy of these programs by investigating the cultural, behavioral, social, and public policy factors that underlie the high HIV prevalence among MSM. By increasing surveillance, research, and prevention among MSM in low- to middle-income countries, it should be possible to curb HIV transmission in this marginalized population and reduce the global burden of HIV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040339.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association provides a world legal map on legislation affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission provides a page called Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS Programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa
The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) has launched their MSM initiative, which is focused on providing support to front-line community groups working on providing services and doing research focused on HIV among MSM in lower income-settings
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including a list of organizations that provide information for gay men and MSM
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV, AIDS, and men who have sex with men
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040339
PMCID: PMC2100144  PMID: 18052602
4.  An Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk Behavior of Substance-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Two-Group Randomized Trial with a Nonrandomized Third Group 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(8):e1000329.
In a randomized trial of a behavioral intervention among substance-using men who have sex with men, aimed at reducing sexual risk behavior, Mansergh and colleagues fail to find evidence of a reduction in risk from the intervention.
Background
Substance use during sex is associated with sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM), and MSM continue to be the group at highest risk for incident HIV in the United States. The objective of this study is to test the efficacy of a group-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention to reduce risk behavior of substance-using MSM, compared to a randomized attention-control group and a nonrandomized standard HIV-testing group.
Methods and Findings
Participants (n = 1,686) were enrolled in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco and randomized to a cognitive-behavioral intervention or attention-control comparison. The nonrandomized group received standard HIV counseling and testing. Intervention group participants received six 2-h group sessions focused on reducing substance use and sexual risk behavior. Attention-control group participants received six 2-h group sessions of videos and discussion of MSM community issues unrelated to substance use, sexual risk, and HIV/AIDS. All three groups received HIV counseling and testing at baseline. The sample reported high-risk behavior during the past 3 mo prior to their baseline visit: 67% reported unprotected anal sex, and 77% reported substance use during their most recent anal sex encounter with a nonprimary partner. The three groups significantly (p<0.05) reduced risk behavior (e.g., unprotected anal sex reduced by 32% at 12-mo follow-up), but were not different (p>0.05) from each other at 3-, 6-, and 12-mo follow-up. Outcomes for the 2-arm comparisons were not significantly different at 12-mo follow-up (e.g., unprotected anal sex, odds ratio = 1.14, confidence interval = 0.86–1.51), nor at earlier time points. Similar results were found for each outcome variable in both 2- and 3-arm comparisons.
Conclusions
These results for reducing sexual risk behavior of substance-using MSM are consistent with results of intervention trials for other populations, which collectively suggest critical challenges for the field of HIV behavioral interventions. Several mechanisms may contribute to statistically indistinguishable reductions in risk outcomes by trial group. More explicit debate is needed in the behavioral intervention field about appropriate scientific designs and methods. As HIV prevention increasingly competes for behavior-change attention alongside other “chronic” diseases and mental health issues, new approaches may better resonate with at-risk groups.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00153361
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US. As the disease spread around the world, it became clear that AIDS also affects heterosexual men and women. Now, three decades on, more than 30 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and, globally, most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses gay, bisexual, transgendered, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men) and, in several high-income countries, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important HIV transmission route. In the US, for example, more than half of the approximately 50,000 people who become infected with HIV every year do so through male-to-male sexual contact.
Why Was This Study Done?
In countries where MSM are the group at highest risk of HIV infection, any intervention that reduces HIV transmission in MSM should have a major effect on the overall HIV infection rate. Among MSM, sexual behaviors that increase the risk of HIV infection (for example, not using a condom, having anal sex, having sex with a partner of unknown HIV status, and having sex with many partners) are associated with the use of alcohol and noninjection drugs (for example, inhaled amyl nitrite or poppers) during or shortly before sexual encounters. In this study (Project MIX), the researchers investigate whether a group-based behavioral intervention reduces sexual risk behavior in substance-using MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited substance-using MSM from four US cities who had had risky sex at least once in the past 6 months. Participants were randomized to a cognitive-behavioral intervention or to an attention-control group; a third, nonrandomized group of MSM formed a standard HIV counseling and testing only group. All the groups had HIV counseling and testing at the start of the study and completed a questionnaire about their substance use and sexual risk behavior during their most recent anal sex encounter. The cognitive-behavior group then received six weekly 2-hour group sessions focused on reducing substance use and sexual risk behavior by helping the men change their thinking (cognition) and behavior regarding sexual risk taking. The attention-control group received six group sessions about general MSM issues such as relationships, excluding discussion of substance use, and sexual risk behavior. The participants in both of these groups completed the questionnaire about their substance use and sexual risk behavior again at 3, 6, and 12 months after the group sessions; the participants in the standard HIV counseling and testing group completed the questionnaire again about 5 months after completing the first questionnaire (to control for the time taken by the other two groups to complete the intervention). At baseline, about 67% of the participants reported unprotected anal sex and 77% reported substance use during their most recent anal sex encounter with a nonprimary partner. At the 3-month follow-up, the incidence of sexual risk behavior had fallen to about 43% in all three groups; the incidence of substance use during sex had fallen to about 50%. Risk taking and substance use remained at these levels in the intervention and attention-control groups at the later follow-up time points.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that this cognitive-behavioral intervention is no better at reducing sexual risk taking among substance-using MSM than is an unrelated video-discussion group or standard HIV counseling and testing. One explanation for this negative result might be that brief counseling is especially effective with people who are ready for a change such as MSM willing to enroll in an intervention trial of this type. Alternatively, just being in the trial might have encouraged all the participants to self-report reduced risk behavior. Thus, alternative scientific designs and methods might be needed to find behavioral interventions that can effectively reduce HIV transmission among substance-using MSM and other people at high risk of HIV infection. Importantly, however, these findings raise the question of whether more extensive, multilevel interventions or broader lifestyle and positive health approaches (rather than single-level or single-subject behavioral interventions) might be needed to reduce sexual risk behavior among substance-using MSM.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000329.
Information is available from the US Department of Health and Human Services on HIV prevention programs, research, and policy
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV transmission and transmission in gay men and other MSM, on substance abuse and HIV/AIDS, and on safer sex
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV, AIDS, and men who have sex with men and on drink, drugs, and sex (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information for the public and for professionals about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has information on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, including a resource aimed at educating teenagers about the link between drug abuse and the spread of HIV in the US (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000329
PMCID: PMC2927550  PMID: 20811491
5.  Crystal Methamphetamine Use and Sexual Risk Behaviors among HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Men Who Have Sex with Men in South Florida 
Using data collected through venue-based sampling in South Florida from 2004 to 2005 as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, we estimate the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine use and its association with high-risk sexual behaviors among a large and diverse sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) residing in South Florida. We also examine how these associations differ between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. Bivariate analyses were used to assess the characteristics of study participants and their sexual risk behaviors by drug use and self-reported HIV status group. Of 946 MSM participants in South Florida, 18% reported crystal methamphetamine use in the past 12 months. Regardless of self-reported HIV status, crystal methamphetamine users were more likely to report high-risk sexual behaviors, an increased number of non-main sex partners, and being high on drugs and/or alcohol at last sex act with a non-main partner. Our findings indicate that crystal methamphetamine use is prevalent among the MSM population in South Florida, and this prevalence rate is similar, if not higher, than that found in US cities that have been long recognized for having a high rate of crystal methamphetamine use among their MSM populations. Notably, the use of crystal methamphetamine among both HIV-positive and HIV-negative MSM is associated with increased HIV-related risk behaviors.
doi:10.1007/s11524-009-9422-z
PMCID: PMC2871089  PMID: 20101468
Crystal methamphetamine; MSM; HIV-positive; Injection drug users; Sexual risk behaviors
6.  Bridging Sexual Boundaries: Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women in a Street-Based Sample in Los Angeles 
The purpose of the study was to determine the potential contribution of bisexual men to the spread of HIV in Los Angeles. We compare the characteristics and behaviors of men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) to men who have sex with only women (MSW) and men who have sex with only men (MSM) in Los Angeles. Men (N = 1,125) who participated in one of the two waves of data collection from 2005 to 2007 at the Los Angeles site for NIDA’s Sexual Acquisition and Transmission of HIV—Cooperative Agreement Program were recruited using Respondent Driven Sampling. Participants completed Audio Computer Assisted Self Interviews and received oral HIV rapid testing with confirmatory blood test by Western Blot and provided urine specimens for detection of recent powder cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin use. MSM, MSW, or MSMW were defined by the gender of whom they reported sex with in the past 6 months. Chi-square tests and ANOVAs were used to test independence between these groups and demographic characteristics, substance use, and sexual behaviors. We fit generalized linear random intercept models to predict sexual risk behaviors at the partner level. Men were mostly of low income, unemployed, and minority, with many being homeless; 66% had been to jail or prison, 29% had ever injected drugs, and 25% had used methamphetamine in the past 30 days. The sample had high HIV prevalence: 12% of MSMW, 65% of MSM, and 4% of MSW. MSMW were behaviorally between MSW and MSM, except that more MSMW practiced sex for trade (both receiving and giving), and more MSMW had partners who are drug users than MSW. Generalized linear random intercept models included a partner-level predictor with four partner groups: MSM, MSMW-male partners, MSMW-female partners, and MSW. The following were significantly associated with unprotected anal intercourse (UAI): MSW (AOR 0.15, 95% CI 0.08, 0.27), MSMW-female partners (AOR 0.4, 95% CI 0.27, 0.61), HIV-positive partners (AOR 2.03, 95% CI 1.31, 3.13), and being homeless (AOR 1.37, 95% CI 1.01, 1.86). The factors associated with giving money or drugs for sex were MSMW-female partners (AOR 1.70, 95% CI 1.09, 2.65), unknown HIV status partners (AOR 1.72, 95% CI 1.29, 2.30), being older (AOR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00, 1.04), history of incarceration (AOR 1.64, 95% CI 1.17, 2.29), and being homeless (AOR 1.73, 95% CI 1.27, 2.36). The following were associated with receiving money or drugs for sex: MSW (AOR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32, 0.89), African American (AOR 2.42, 95% CI 1.56, 3.76), Hispanic (AOR 1.85, 95% CI 1.12, 3.05), history of incarceration (AOR 1.44, 95% CI 1.04, 2.01), history of injecting drugs (AOR 1.57, 95% CI 1.13, 2.19), and had been recently homeless (AOR 2.14, 95% CI 1.57, 2.94). While overall HIV-positive MSM had more UAI with partners of any HIV status than MSMW with either partner gender, among HIV-positive MSMW, more had UAI with HIV-negative and HIV status unknown female partners than male partners. Findings highlight the interconnectedness of sexual and drug networks in this sample of men—as most have partners who use drugs and they use drugs themselves. We find a concentration of risk that occurs particularly among impoverished minorities—where many men use drugs, trade sex, and have sex with either gender. Findings also suggest an embedded core group of drug-using MSMW who may not so much contribute to spreading the HIV epidemic to the general population, but driven by their pressing need for drugs and money, concentrate the epidemic among men and women like themselves who have few resources.
doi:10.1007/s11524-009-9370-7
PMCID: PMC2705489  PMID: 19543837
Sexual bridging; MSMW; HIV risk behavior; HIV transmission risks
7.  Methamphetamine-using HIV-positive men who have sex with men: Correlates of polydrug use 
Methamphetamine use has become a major problem among communities of men having sex with men (MSM), where it has been associated with high-risk behaviors. Methamphetamine is often combined with other drugs that may increase its risks and adverse health consequences. To examine differences in background characteristics, HIV-risk behaviors, and psychosocial variables among polydrug-using HIV-positive MSM, the researchers classified a sample of 261 HIV-positive, methamphetamine-using MSM into three user groups: (1) methamphetamine only; (2) methamphetamine, marijuana, and poppers (light polydrug users); and (3) methamphetamine and other drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and ketamine; heavy polydrug users). Only 5% reported using only methamphetamine during the past 2 months; 31% were classified as light polydrug users, and 64% were classified as heavy polydrug users. Heavy polydrug users were significantly younger than light polydrug users (35.6 vs. 38.4, P<.01) and reported using methamphetamine for significantly fewer years (10.3 vs. 14.2 years, P<.001), but did not differ in the amount and frequency of methamphetamine or alcohol consumed. Heavy polydrug users reported significantly more sex partners of HIV-negative and unknown serostatus and had more unprotected sex with these partners. Heavy polydrug users had significantly higher scores on impulsivity and negative self-perceptions, as compared with those of light polydrug users. In this sample of HIV-positive MSM, most of those who used methamphetamine had a pattern of polydrug use. Heavy polydrug users reported significantly more high-risk sexual behaviors and tended toward higher levels of impulsivity than light polydrug users. The implications of these findings are two-fold: (1) Longitudinal research is needed to establish causal relationships among methamphetamine use, impulsivity, negative self-perceptions, and sexual risk behavior in this target population; (2) behavioral interventions should evaluate whether methamphetamine use and sexual risk behavior can be reduced by modifying impulsivity and negative self-perceptions.
doi:10.1093/jurban/jti031
PMCID: PMC3456168  PMID: 15738313
HIV; Methamphetamine; MSM; Polydrug abuse; Sexual risk
8.  Social and Behavioral Characteristics of HIV-positive MSM Who Trade Sex for Methamphetamine 
Background
Previous research among drug-using men who have sex with men (MSM) indicates that trading sex for methamphetamine may be common.
Objectives
This study identified background characteristics, substance use variables, contextual factors, and sexual risk behaviors associated with trading sex for methamphetamine in a sample of HIV-positive MSM. Baseline data were gathered from 155 participants who were enrolled in a sexual risk-reduction intervention. Logistic regression was used to compare MSM who traded sex for methamphetamine with men who did not.
Results
Forty-three percent of the sample reported trading sex for methamphetamine in the past 2 months. Trading sex for methamphetamine was associated with being a binge user, homelessness, having an income of less than $20,000 per year, being less assertive at turning down drugs, engaging in more anal sex without a condom, and seeking out risky sex partners when high on methamphetamine.
Conclusions and Scientific Significance
These data suggest that the trading of sex for methamphetamine may be a primary source of new HIV infections within and outside of the MSM community, necessitating targeted interventions with this vulnerable subgroup.
doi:10.3109/00952990.2010.505273
PMCID: PMC3383823  PMID: 20955106
methamphetamine; trading sex; men who have sex with men; sexual risk behavior
9.  Trends in methamphetamine use in young injection drug users in San Francisco from 1998 to 2004: the UFO Study 
Drug and alcohol review  2008;27(3):286-291.
Aims
To describe temporal trends in methamphetamine use among young injection drug users (IDU) in San Francisco.
Design and Methods
Secondary analysis of cross-sectional baseline data collected for a longitudinal study of young IDU from 1998 to 2004. Participants were 1445 young IDU (< 30 years old) who reported injection in the previous month, English-speaking, and recruited by street outreach methods. We examined trends for: lifetime (ever) and recent (30-day) methamphetamine use, including injected and non-injected, and by age group and sexual risk behaviour [men who have sex with men injecting drug users (MSM-IDU), male IDU (non-MSM) and female IDU].
Results
In 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004 we interviewed 237, 276, 431, 310, 147 and 44 participants, respectively. Overall, median age was 22 years [interquartile range (IQR) 20 – 25], 30.3% were women and median duration of injecting was 4.4 years (IQR 2 – 7). Prevalence of methamphetamine use was high, with 50.1% reporting recent injection, but overall there were no temporal increases in reported ‘ever’ injected use. Recent methamphetamine injection (past 30 days) increased significantly, and peaked at 60% in 2003. MSM-IDU had higher methamphetamine injection ever (92.3%) and recently (59.5%) compared to heterosexual male (non-MSM) IDU (81.6% and 47.3%, respectively) and to female IDU (78.4% and 46.1%, respectively).
Conclusions
Despite reports of ubiquitous increases in methamphetamine use, there were no significant increases in 6 years in ever injecting methamphetamine overall among young IDU. MSM-IDU who reported the highest methamphetamine use overall reported some increases in recent injected use. The methamphetamine ‘epidemic’ was probably under way among young IDU earlier than other populations.
doi:10.1080/09595230801914784
PMCID: PMC3747037  PMID: 18368610
injection drug use; methamphetamine; MSM-IDU; prevalence; trends; young injectors
10.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
11.  Factors Associated with Event-Level Stimulant Use during Sex In a Sample of Older, Low-Income Men Who Have Sex with Men in Los Angeles 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2009;102(1-3):123-129.
Prior research shows that stimulant use is consistently associated with high-risk sexual behavior in samples of men who have sex with men (MSM), but few studies have explored factors associated with use of crack or methamphetamine during sex during specific sexual events among older, very low income MSM. This study examined stimulant use during the most recent sexual episodes in a sample of primarily older, very low-income MSM (n=779). Although crack use was more prevalent than methamphetamine use (33% v. 22%), findings suggest that methamphetamine users may be at greater risk for HIV transmission. HIV prevalence was higher among methamphetamine users (49%) than among crack users (24%). Having unprotected sex (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.46 – 5.26), having sex in a public sex venue (OR 3.63, 95% CI 1.52 – 8.64), having sex with an HIV positive rather than with an HIV negative partner (OR 6.15, 95% CI 2.14 – 17.62), having exchanged sex for money or drugs (OR 4.16, 95% CI 1.78 –9.72), and having a higher number of sexual partners (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.17 – 2.38) all were associated with increased odds of methamphetamine use during sex. Fewer high risk behaviors were associated with increased odds of using crack during sex. Having unprotected sex was associated with increased odds of crack use during sex only when sex partners were perceived to be HIV negative rather than to be HIV positive or of unknown status. Findings provide observations on associations between stimulant use during sex and risk behaviors that may be important to HIV prevention and drug treatment approaches for urban, older, very poor MSM.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.02.002
PMCID: PMC2751657  PMID: 19327917
methamphetamine; crack; sex; HIV; respondent driven sampling (RDS)
12.  Formative Assessment of ARM-U: A Modular Intervention for Decreasing Risk Behaviors Among HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Methamphetamine-Using MSM 
The Open AIDS Journal  2010;4:105-115.
Background:
Methamphetamine is a major contributor to HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). Recent studies show that up to one-third of methamphetamine-using MSM (MUMSM) inject the drug. We developed a behavioral intervention for MUMSM to decrease unprotected anal intercourse and increase awareness of parenteral HIV transmission risk. This 6-session (3 in-person, 3 by telephone) modular intervention was designed to be tailored to participants’ HIV (+/-) and injection drug user ([IDU] yes/no) status. We present results of formative research used to evaluate the content and to assess feasibility and acceptability of this individual-level HIV risk-reduction intervention.
Setting:
HIV research clinic in a high MSM and methamphetamine prevalence neighborhood.
Project:
Avoiding Risks from Methamphetamine-Use (ARM-U) is a brief toolbox intervention that allows counselors to select modules that suit a client’s individual risk profile and intervention needs employing motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral theory. We evaluated the format and content of the intervention through focus groups and pre-testing of the entire intervention using volunteers from the target population stratified into four groups (HIV+/IDU, HIV-/IDU, HIV+/non-IDU, HIV-/non-IDU). Four individuals in each stratum were recruited to undergo the intervention and complete a satisfaction survey at the end of each in-person session.
Results:
In total, 25 MUMSM attended one of five focus groups. Participants thought all proposed intervention topics were important and could aid in reducing sexual risk behaviors among MUMSM. However, the neurocognitive effects of methamphetamine were reported to be a barrier to practicing safer sex, condom use negotiation or HIV status disclosure. Fifteen (94%) of 16 participants completed all 6 sessions and the satisfaction survey. On average, participants felt the intervention was useful for MUMSM, made them contemplate and move toward behavior change, and would recommend the program to their peers.
Lessons Learned:
Based on our formative research, we revised the ARM-U intervention to emphasize pre-planning to avoid combining methamphetamine use and sex or develop strategies to avoid sex risk following methamphetamine use. We also increased emphasis on referrals for care and other requested services. Future efficacy trials are needed to evaluate the intervention’s ability to reduce HIV-associated risk behaviors.
doi:10.2174/1874613601004030105
PMCID: PMC2905777  PMID: 20657829
HIV; injection drug use; MSM; methamphetamine; formative research; behavioral intervention.
13.  Episodic Sexual Transmission of HIV Revealed by Molecular Phylodynamics 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e50.
Background
The structure of sexual contact networks plays a key role in the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections, and their reconstruction from interview data has provided valuable insights into the spread of infection. For HIV, the long period of infectivity has made the interpretation of contact networks more difficult, and major discrepancies have been observed between the contact network and the transmission network revealed by viral phylogenetics. The high rate of HIV evolution in principle allows for detailed reconstruction of links between virus from different individuals, but often sampling has been too sparse to describe the structure of the transmission network. The aim of this study was to analyze a high-density sample of an HIV-infected population using recently developed techniques in phylogenetics to infer the short-term dynamics of the epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Methods and Findings
Sequences of the protease and reverse transcriptase coding regions from 2,126 patients, predominantly MSM, from London were compared: 402 of these showed a close match to at least one other subtype B sequence. Nine large clusters were identified on the basis of genetic distance; all were confirmed by Bayesian Monte Carlo Markov chain (MCMC) phylogenetic analysis. Overall, 25% of individuals with a close match with one sequence are linked to 10 or more others. Dated phylogenies of the clusters using a relaxed clock indicated that 65% of the transmissions within clusters took place between 1995 and 2000, and 25% occurred within 6 mo after infection. The likelihood that not all members of the clusters have been identified renders the latter observation conservative.
Conclusions
Reconstruction of the HIV transmission network using a dated phylogeny approach has revealed the HIV epidemic among MSM in London to have been episodic, with evidence of multiple clusters of transmissions dating to the late 1990s, a period when HIV prevalence is known to have doubled in this population. The quantitative description of the transmission dynamics among MSM will be important for parameterization of epidemiological models and in designing intervention strategies.
Using viral genotype data from HIV drug resistance testing at a London clinic, Andrew Leigh Brown and colleagues derive the structure of the transmission network through phylogenetic analysis.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is mainly spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. Like other sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS spreads through networks of sexual contacts. The characteristics of these complex networks (which include people who have serial sexual relationships with single partners and people who have concurrent sexual relationships with several partners) affect how quickly diseases spread in the short term and how common the disease is in the long term. For many sexually transmitted diseases, sexual contact networks can be reconstructed from interview data. The information gained in this way can be used for partner notification so that transmitters of the disease and people who may have been unknowingly infected can be identified, treated, and advised about disease prevention. It can also be used to develop effective community-based prevention strategies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although sexual contact networks have provided valuable information about the spread of many sexually transmitted diseases, they cannot easily be used to understand HIV transmission patterns. This is because the period of infectivity with HIV is long and the risk of infection from a single sexual contact with an infected person is low. Another way to understand the spread of HIV is through phylogenetics, which examines the genetic relatedness of viruses obtained from different individuals. Frequent small changes in the genetic blueprint of HIV allow the virus to avoid the human immune response and to become resistant to antiretroviral drugs. In this study, the researchers use recently developed analytical methods, viral sequences from a large proportion of a specific HIV-infected population, and information on when each sample was taken, to learn about transmission of HIV/AIDS in London among men who have sex with men (MSM; a term that encompasses gay, bisexual, and transgendered men and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). This new approach, which combines information on viral genetic variation and viral population dynamics, is called “molecular phylodynamics.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared the sequences of the genes encoding the HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase from more than 2,000 patients, mainly MSM, attending a large London HIV clinic between 1997 and 2003. 402 of these sequences closely matched at least one other subtype B sequence (the HIV/AIDS epidemic among MSM in the UK primarily involves HIV subtype B). Further analysis showed that the patients from whom this subset of sequences came formed six clusters of ten or more individuals, as well as many smaller clusters, based on the genetic relatedness of their HIV viruses. The researchers then used information on the date when each sample was collected and a “relaxed clock” approach (which accounts for the possibility that different sequences evolve at different rates) to determine dated phylogenies (patterns of genetic relatedness that indicate when gene sequences change) for the clusters. These phylogenies indicated that at least in one in four transmissions between the individuals in the large clusters occurred within 6 months of infection, and that most of the transmissions within each cluster occurred over periods of 3–4 years during the late 1990s.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This phylodynamic reconstruction of the HIV transmission network among MSM in a London clinic indicates that the HIV epidemic in this population has been episodic with multiple clusters of transmission occurring during the late 1990s, a time when the number of HIV infections in this population doubled. It also suggests that transmission of the virus during the early stages of HIV infection is likely to be an important driver of the epidemic. Whether these results apply more generally to the MSM population at risk for transmitting or acquiring HIV depends on whether the patients in this study are representative of that group. Additional studies are needed to determine this, but if the patterns revealed here are generalizable, then this quantitative description of HIV transmission dynamics should help in the design of strategies to strengthen HIV prevention among MSM.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050050.
Read a related PLoS Medicine Perspective article
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including a list of organizations that provide information for gay men and MSM
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on HIV/AIDS among MSM (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV, AIDS, and men who have sex with men
The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (University of California, San Francisco) provides information on sexual networks and HIV prevention
The US National Center for Biotechnology Information provides a science primer on molecular phylogenetics
UK Collaborative Group on HIV Drug Resistance maintains a database of resistance tests
HIV i-Base offers HIV treatment information for health-care professionals and HIV-positive people
The NIH-funded HIV Sequence Database contains data on genetic sequences, resistance, immunology, and vaccine trials
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050050
PMCID: PMC2267814  PMID: 18351795
14.  A Novel Combination HIV Prevention Strategy: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis with Contingency Management for Substance Abuse Treatment Among Methamphetamine-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2012;26(6):320-328.
Abstract
Methamphetamine use has been associated with HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, providers have been hesitant to utilize post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in populations of stimulant users. This single-arm, open label pilot study sought to demonstrate the safety, feasibility, and acceptability of PEP combined with the drug abstinence intervention of contingency management (CM) in methamphetamine-using MSM. HIV-uninfected MSM reporting recent methamphetamine use were recruited to a CM intervention. Those who reported a recent high-risk sexual or injection drug exposure to an HIV-infected or serostatus unknown source were initiated on tenofovir/emtricitabine (Truvada)-based PEP. Participants were followed over 3 months for infectious/biologic, behavioral, and drug use outcomes. Fifty-three participants enrolled in the study; 35 participants (66%) initiated PEP after a high-risk exposure. The median time from exposure to medication administration was 37.8 h (range 12.5–68.0 h). Twenty-five (71.4%) PEP initiators successfully completed the treatment course. Median medication adherence was 96% (IQR 57–100%), and medication was generally well tolerated. Methamphetamine abstinence during CM treatment increased PEP adherence (2% [95% CI +1–+3%]) per clean urine toxicology sample provided), and increased the odds of PEP course completion (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04–1.31). One incident of HIV seroconversion was observed in a participant who did not complete PEP treatment, and reported multiple subsequent exposures. Findings demonstrate that PEP, when combined with CM, is safe, feasible, and acceptable as an HIV prevention strategy in methamphetamine-using MSM.
doi:10.1089/apc.2011.0432
PMCID: PMC3366332  PMID: 22680280
15.  The Comparability of Men Who Have Sex With Men Recruited From Venue-Time-Space Sampling and Facebook: A Cohort Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(3):e37.
Background
Recruiting valid samples of men who have sex with men (MSM) is a key component of the US human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) surveillance and of research studies seeking to improve HIV prevention for MSM. Social media, such as Facebook, may present an opportunity to reach broad samples of MSM, but the extent to which those samples are comparable with men recruited from venue-based, time-space sampling (VBTS) is unknown.
Objective
The objective of this study was to assess the comparability of MSM recruited via VBTS and Facebook.
Methods
HIV-negative and HIV-positive black and white MSM were recruited from June 2010 to December 2012 using VBTS and Facebook in Atlanta, GA. We compared the self-reported venue attendance, demographic characteristics, sexual and risk behaviors, history of HIV-testing, and HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence between Facebook- and VTBS-recruited MSM overall and by race. Multivariate logistic and negative binomial models estimated age/race adjusted ratios. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to assess 24-month retention.
Results
We recruited 803 MSM, of whom 110 (34/110, 30.9% black MSM, 76/110, 69.1% white MSM) were recruited via Facebook and 693 (420/693, 60.6% black MSM, 273/693, 39.4% white MSM) were recruited through VTBS. Facebook recruits had high rates of venue attendance in the previous month (26/34, 77% among black and 71/76, 93% among white MSM; between-race P=.01). MSM recruited on Facebook were generally older, with significant age differences among black MSM (P=.02), but not white MSM (P=.14). In adjusted multivariate models, VBTS-recruited MSM had fewer total partners (risk ratio [RR]=0.78, 95% CI 0.64-0.95; P=.01) and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) partners (RR=0.54, 95% CI 0.40-0.72; P<.001) in the previous 12 months. No significant differences were observed in HIV testing or HIV/STI prevalence. Retention to the 24-month visit varied from 81% for black and 70% for white MSM recruited via Facebook, to 77% for black and 78% for white MSM recruited at venues. There was no statistically significant differences in retention between the four groups (log-rank P=.64).
Conclusions
VBTS and Facebook recruitment methods yielded similar samples of MSM in terms of HIV-testing patterns, and prevalence of HIV/STI, with no differences in study retention. Most Facebook-recruited men also attended venues where VTBS recruitment was conducted. Surveillance and research studies may recruit via Facebook with little evidence of bias, relative to VBTS.
doi:10.2196/resprot.3342
PMCID: PMC4129125  PMID: 25048694
men who have sex with men, MSM; Facebook; venue-based time sampling; online MSM; social media recruitment of MSM
16.  A Pilot Trial of Integrated Behavioral Activation and Sexual Risk Reduction Counseling for HIV-Uninfected Men Who Have Sex with Men Abusing Crystal Methamphetamine 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2012;26(11):681-693.
Abstract
Crystal methamphetamine use is a major driver behind high-risk sexual behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM). Prior work suggests a cycle of continued crystal methamphetamine use and high-risk sex due to loss of the ability to enjoy other activities, which appears to be a side effect of this drug. Behavioral activation (BA) is a treatment for depression that involves learning to reengage in life's activities. We evaluated a novel intervention for crystal methamphetamine abuse and high-risk sex in MSM, incorporating 10 sessions of BA with integrated HIV risk reduction counseling (RR). Forty-four subjects were screened, of whom 21 met initial entry criteria. A total of 19 participants enrolled; 16 completed an open-phase study of the intervention. Behavioral assessments were conducted at baseline, 3 months postbaseline, and 6 months postbaseline. Linear mixed effects regression models were fit to assess change over time. Mean unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) episodes decreased significantly from baseline to acute postintervention (β=−4.86; 95% confidence interval [CI]=−7.48, −2.24; p=0.0015) and from baseline to 6 months postbaseline (β=−5.07; 95% CI=−7.85, −2.29; p=0.0017; test of fixed effects χ2=16.59; df=2,13; p=0.0002). On average, there was a significant decrease over time in the number of crystal methamphetamine episodes in the past 3 months (χ2=22.43; df=2,15; p<0.0001), and the number of days of crystal methamphetamine use in the past 30 days (χ2=9.21; df=2,15; p=0.010). Statistically significant reductions in depressive symptoms and poly-substance use were also maintained. Adding behavioral activation to risk reduction counseling for MSM with problematic crystal methamphetamine use may augment the potency of a risk reduction intervention for this population. Due to the small sample size and time intensive intervention, future testing in a randomized design is necessary to determine efficacy, with subsequent effectiveness testing.
doi:10.1089/apc.2012.0216
PMCID: PMC3495110  PMID: 23030605
17.  Assessing the feasibility of harm reduction services for MSM: the late night breakfast buffet study 
Background
Despite the leveling off in new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) in San Francisco, new evidence suggests that many recent HIV infections are linked with the use of Methamphetamine (MA). Among anonymous HIV testers in San Francisco, HIV incidence among MA users was 6.3% compared to 2.1% among non-MA users. Of particular concern for prevention programs are frequent users and HIV positive men who use MA. These MSM pose a particular challenge to HIV prevention efforts due to the need to reach them during very late night hours.
Methods
The purpose of the Late Night Breakfast Buffet (LNBB) was to determine the feasibility and uptake of harm reduction services by a late night population of MSM. The "buffet" of services included: needle exchange, harm reduction information, oral HIV testing, and urine based sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing accompanied by counseling and consent procedures. The study had two components: harm reduction outreach and a behavioral survey. For 4 months during 2004, we provided van-based harm reduction services in three neighborhoods in San Francisco from 1 – 5 a.m. for anyone out late at night. We also administered a behavioral risk and service utilization survey among MSM.
Results
We exchanged 2000 needles in 233 needle exchange visits, distributed 4500 condoms/lubricants and provided 21 HIV tests and 12 STI tests. Fifty-five MSM enrolled in the study component. The study population of MSM was characterized by low levels of income and education whose ages ranged from 18 – 55. Seventy-eight percent used MA in the last 3 months; almost 25% used MA every day in the same time frame. Of the 65% who ever injected, 97% injected MA and 13% injected it several times a day. MA and alcohol were strong influences in the majority of unprotected sexual encounters among both HIV negative and HIV positive MSM.
Conclusion
We reached a disenfranchised population of MA-using MSM who are at risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV infection through multiple high risk behaviors, and we established the feasibility and acceptability of late night harm reduction for MSM and MSM who inject drugs.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-3-29
PMCID: PMC1609109  PMID: 17018154
18.  Homonegativity, Substance Use, Sexual Risk Behaviors, and HIV Status in Poor and Ethnic Men Who Have Sex with Men in Los Angeles 
This study evaluates associations between internalized homonegativity and demographic factors, drug use behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, and HIV status among men who have sex with men (MSM) and with men and women (MSM/W). Participants were recruited in Los Angeles County using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and completed the Internalized Homonegativity Inventory (IHNI) and questionnaires on demographic and behavioral factors. Biological samples were tested for HIV and for recent cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin use. The 722 MSM and MSM/W participants were predominantly African American (44%) and Hispanic (28%), unemployed (82%), homeless (50%), and HIV positive (48%) who used drugs in the past 6 months (79.5%). Total and Personal Homonegativity, Gay Affirmation, and Morality of Homosexuality IHNI scores were significantly higher for African American men than for other ethnicities, for MSM/W than for MSM, for recent cocaine users than for recent methamphetamine users, and for HIV-seronegative men than for HIV-seropositive men. Linear regression showed the Gay Affirmation scale significantly and inversely correlated with the number of sexual partners when controlling for effects of ethnicity/race and sexual identification, particularly for men who self-identified as straight. Highest IHNI scores were observed in a small group of MSM/W (n = 62) who never tested for HIV. Of these, 26% tested HIV positive. Findings describe ways in which internalized homophobia is a barrier to HIV testing and associated HIV infection and signal distinctions among participants in this sample that can inform targeted HIV prevention efforts aimed at increasing HIV testing.
doi:10.1007/s11524-009-9372-5
PMCID: PMC2705491  PMID: 19526346
Homophobia; Homonegativity; Drug abuse; Gay men; Bisexual men; HIV
19.  The Potential Impact of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transwomen in Lima, Peru: A Mathematical Modelling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001323.
Gabriela Gomez and colleagues developed a mathematical model of the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men and transwomen in Lima, Peru to explore whether HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis could be a cost-effective addition to existing HIV prevention strategies.
Background
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretroviral drugs by uninfected individuals to prevent HIV infection, has demonstrated effectiveness in preventing acquisition in a high-risk population of men who have sex with men (MSM). Consequently, there is a need to understand if and how PrEP can be used cost-effectively to prevent HIV infection in such populations.
Methods and Findings
We developed a mathematical model representing the HIV epidemic among MSM and transwomen (male-to-female transgender individuals) in Lima, Peru, as a test case. PrEP effectiveness in the model is assumed to result from the combination of a “conditional efficacy” parameter and an adherence parameter. Annual operating costs from a health provider perspective were based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim guidelines for PrEP use. The model was used to investigate the population-level impact, cost, and cost-effectiveness of PrEP under a range of implementation scenarios. The epidemiological impact of PrEP is largely driven by programme characteristics. For a modest PrEP coverage of 5%, over 8% of infections could be averted in a programme prioritising those at higher risk and attaining the adherence levels of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiative study. Across all scenarios, the highest estimated cost per disability-adjusted life year averted (uniform strategy for a coverage level of 20%, US$1,036–US$4,254) is below the World Health Organization recommended threshold for cost-effective interventions, while only certain optimistic scenarios (low coverage of 5% and some or high prioritisation) are likely to be cost-effective using the World Bank threshold. The impact of PrEP is reduced if those on PrEP decrease condom use, but only extreme behaviour changes among non-adherers (over 80% reduction in condom use) and a low PrEP conditional efficacy (40%) would adversely impact the epidemic. However, PrEP will not arrest HIV transmission in isolation because of its incomplete effectiveness and dependence on adherence, and because the high cost of programmes limits the coverage levels that could potentially be attained.
Conclusions
A strategic PrEP intervention could be a cost-effective addition to existing HIV prevention strategies for MSM populations. However, despite being cost-effective, a substantial expenditure would be required to generate significant reductions in incidence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Without a vaccine, the only ways to halt the global HIV epidemic are prevention strategies that reduce transmission of the HIV virus. Up until recently, behavioral strategies such as condom use and reduction of sexual partners have been at the center of HIV prevention. In the past few years, several biological prevention measures have also been shown to be effective in reducing (though not completely preventing) HIV transmission. These include male circumcision, treatment for prevention (giving antiretroviral drugs to HIV-infected people, before they need it for their own health, to reduce their infectiousness) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), in which HIV-negative people use antiretroviral drugs to protect themselves from infection. One PrEP regimen (a daily pill containing two different antiretrovirals) has been shown in a clinical trial to reduce new infections by 44% in of men who have sex with men (MSM). In July 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved this PrEP regimen to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected men and women who are at high risk of HIV infection and who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners. The approval makes it clear that PrEP needs to be used in combination with safe sex practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
Clinical trials have shown that PrEP can reduce HIV infections among participants, but they have not examined the consequences PrEP could have at the population level. Before decision-makers can decide whether to invest in PrEP programs, they need to know about the costs and benefits at the population level. Besides the price of the drug itself, the costs include HIV testing before starting PrEP, as well as regular tests thereafter. The health benefits of reducing new HIV infections are calculated in “disability-adjusted life years” (or DALYs) averted. One DALY is equal to one year of healthy life lost. Other benefits include future savings in lifelong HIV/AIDS treatment for every person whose infection is prevented by PrEP.
This study estimates the potential costs and health benefits of several hypothetical PrEP roll-out scenarios among the community of MSM in Lima, Peru. The scientists chose this community because many of the participants in the clinical trial that showed that PrEP can reduce infections came from this community, and they therefore have some knowledge on how PrEP affects HIV infection rates and behavior in this population. Because the HIV epidemic in Lima is concentrated among MSM, similar to most of Latin America and several other developed countries, the results might also be relevant for the evaluation of PrEP in other places.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their scenarios, the researchers looked at “high coverage” and “low coverage” scenarios, in which 20% and 5% of uninfected individuals use PrEP, respectively. They also divided the MSM community into those at lower risk of becoming infected and those at higher risk. The latter group consisted of transwomen at higher risk (transsexuals and transvestites with many sexual partners) and male sex workers. In a “uniform coverage” scenario, PrEP is equally distributed among all MSM. “Prioritized scenarios” cover transwomen at higher risk and sex workers preferentially. Two additional important factors for the estimated benefits are treatment adherence (i.e., whether people take the pills they have been prescribed faithfully over long periods of time even though they are not sick) and changes in risk behavior (i.e., whether the perceived protection provided by PrEP leads to more unprotected sex).
The cost estimates for PrEP included the costs of the drug itself and HIV tests prior to PrEP prescription and at three-month intervals thereafter, as well as outreach and counseling services and condom and lubricant promotion and provision.
To judge whether under the various scenarios PrEP is cost-effective, the researchers applied two commonly used but different cost-effectiveness thresholds. The World Health Organization's WHO-CHOICE initiative considers an intervention cost-effective if its cost is less than three times the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita per DALY averted. For Peru, this means an intervention should cost less than US$16,302 per DALY. The World Bank has more stringent criteria: it considers an intervention cost-effective for a middle-income country like Peru if it costs less than US$500 per DALY averted.
The researchers estimate that PrEP is cost-effective in Lima's MSM population for most scenarios by WHO-CHOICE guidelines. Only scenarios that prioritize PrEP to those most likely to become infected (i.e., transwomen at higher risk and sex workers) are cost-effective (and only barely) by the more stringent World Bank criteria. If the savings on antiretroviral drugs to treat people with HIV (those who would have become infected without PrEP) are included in the calculation, most scenarios become cost-effective, even under World Bank criteria.
The most cost-effective scenario, namely, having a modest coverage of 5%, prioritizing PrEP to transwomen at higher risk and sex workers, and assuming fairly high adherence levels among PrEP recipients, is estimated to avert about 8% of new infections among this community over ten years.
What Do these Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that under some circumstances, PrEP could be a cost-effective tool to reduce new HIV infections. However, as the researchers discuss, PrEP is expensive and only partly effective. Moreover, its effectiveness depends on two behavioral factors—adherence to a strict drug regimen and continued practicing of safe sex—both of which remain hard to predict. As a consequence, PrEP alone is not a valid strategy to prevent new HIV infections. It needs instead to be considered as one of several available tools. If and when PrEP is chosen as part of an integrated prevention strategy will depend on the specific target population, the overall funds available, and how well its cost-effectiveness compares with other prevention measures.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001323.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and a section on PrEP
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV prevention
AVAC Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention provides up-to-date information on HIV prevention, including PrEP
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on PrEP
The World Health Organization has a page on its WHO-CHOICE criteria for cost-effectiveness
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001323
PMCID: PMC3467261  PMID: 23055836
20.  Mirtazapine to Reduce Methamphetamine Use 
Archives of general psychiatry  2011;68(11):1168-1175.
Context
No approved pharmacologic treatments for methamphetamine dependence exist. Methamphetamine use is associated with high morbidity and is a major cofactor in the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Objective
To determine whether mirtazapine would reduce methamphetamine use among MSM who are actively using methamphetamine.
Design
Double-blind, randomized, controlled, 12-week trial of mirtazapine vs placebo conducted from September 5, 2007, to March 4, 2010.
Setting
San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Participants
Participants were actively using, methamphetamine-dependent, sexually active MSM seen weekly for urine sample collection and substance use counseling.
Interventions
Random assignment to daily oral mirtazapine (30 mg) or placebo; both arms included 30-minute weekly substance use counseling.
Main Outcome Measures
The primary study outcome was reduction in methamphetamine-positive urine test results. Secondary outcomes were study medication adherence (by self-report and medication event monitoring systems) and sexual risk behavior.
Results
Sixty MSM were randomized, 85% of follow-up visits were completed, and 56 participants (93%) completed the final visit. In the primary intent-to-treat analysis, participants assigned to the mirtazapine group had fewer methamphetamine-positive urine test results compared with participants assigned to the placebo group (relative risk, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35–0.93, P = .02). Urine positivity decreased from 67% (20 of 30 participants) to 63% (17 of 27) in the placebo arm and from 73% (22 of 30) to 44% (12 of 27) in the mirtazapine arm. The number needed to treat to achieve a negative weekly urine test result was 3.1. Adherence was 48.5% by medication event monitoring systems and 74.7% by self-report; adherence measures were not significantly different between arms (medication event monitoring systems, P = .82; self-report, P = .92). Most sexual risk behaviors decreased significantly more among participants taking mirtazapine compared with those taking placebo (number of male partners with whom methamphetamine was used, P = .009; number of male partners, P = .04; episodes of anal sex with serodiscordant partners, P = .003; episodes of unprotected anal sex with serodiscordant partners, P = .003; episodes of insertive anal sex with serodiscordant partners, P = .001). There were no serious adverse events related to study drug or significant differences in adverse events by arm (P ≥ .99).
Conclusion
The addition of mirtazapine to substance use counseling decreased methamphetamine use among active users and was associated with decreases in sexual risk despite low to moderate medication adherence.
doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.124
PMCID: PMC3437988  PMID: 22065532
21.  Longitudinal patterns of methamphetamine, popper (amyl nitrite), and cocaine use and high-risk sexual behavior among a cohort of San Francisco men who have sex with men 
Most prior studies examining drug use among men who have sex with men (MSM) have been cross-sectional or retrospective and have not determined whether periods of increased drug use are associated with high-risk sexual behavior at the individual level. In this article, we describe patterns of use of methamphetamines, poppers, and sniffed cocaine and sexual risk behavior among 736 San Francisco MSM enrolled in the EXPLORE study and followed for up to 48 months. In longitudinal analysis, use of methamphetamines, poppers, and sniffed cocaine declined during follow-up. However, compared with older participants, younger participants were more likely to increase their drug use over time. Results of conditional logistic regression demonstrated that high-risk sexual behavior was more common during reporting periods characterized by increased methamphetamine, poppers, or sniffed cocaine use. This within-person analysis found that compared with periods of no drug use, periods of both light drug use (less than weekly use of drugs) and heavier drug use (at least weekly use of at least one drug) were significantly associated with increased risk of engaging in uprotected anal sex with an HIV-positive or unknown-status partner. These results suggest that even intermittent, recreational use of these drugs may lead to high-risk sexual behavior, and that, to reduce and prevent risks of HIV, no level of use of these drugs should be considered “safe.” HIV prevention interventions should target MSM who report either light or heavy use of methamphetamines, poppers, and sniffed cocaine.
doi:10.1093/jurban/jti025
PMCID: PMC3456172  PMID: 15738319
Drug use; HIV; Men who have sex with men; Sexual risk behavior
22.  Hepatitis Vaccination of Men Who Have Sex with Men at Gay Pride Events 
Prevention Science  2010;11(2):219-227.
Prevention researchers have advocated primary prevention such as vaccination in alternative venues. However, there have been major questions about both the attendance of, and the ability to, vaccinate high-risk individuals in such settings. The current study seeks to assess the feasibility of vaccinating high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) at Gay Pride events. The research questions are: Do gay men who are sampled at Gay Pride events engage in more or less risky behavior than gay men sampled at other venues? Do the gay men who receive hepatitis vaccinations at Gay Pride engage in more or less risky behavior than gay men at Gay Pride who do not receive hepatitis vaccination? Of the 3689 MSM that completed the Field Risk Assessment (FRA), 1095/3689 = 29.68% were recruited at either the 2006 or 2007 Long Beach, California Gay Pride events. The remaining, 2594/3689 = 70.32% were recruited at Long Beach gay bars, gay community organizations and institutions, and through street recruitment in various gay enclaves in the Long Beach area. Logistic regression analysis yielded eight factors that were associated with non-attendance of Gay Pride: Age, had sex while high in the last 12 months, had unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) in the last 12 months, had sex for drugs/money in the last 12 months, been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last 12 months, used nitrites (poppers) in the last 12 months, and used methamphetamine in the last 12 months. Identifying as White, Asian, or African American compared to Hispanic was also associated with non-attendance. Bivariate analysis indicated that, of the MSM sampled at Gay Pride, 280/1095 = 25.57% received a hepatitis vaccination there. The MSM sampled at Gay Pride who reported engaging in UAI or having used any stimulant (cocaine, crack-cocaine, or methamphetamine) in the last 12 months were more likely to receive hepatitis vaccination on-site. The results provide evidence for the viability of successfully vaccinating high-risk MSM at Gay Pride events. However, it is vital that no-cost vaccinations are also funded in other community settings such as STI clinics, drug treatment programs, prisons, universities, and other community resource centers in order to reach those additional high-risk MSM who do not attend Gay Pride.
doi:10.1007/s11121-009-0164-7
PMCID: PMC2858271  PMID: 20049541
Hepatitis vaccination; Gay pride; MSM; Drug abuse; Sexual risk
23.  PSYCHOSOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF ANXIETY SYMPTOMS IN A SAMPLE OF HIV-POSITIVE, METHAMPHETAMINE-USING MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN 
AIDS Care  2011;23(5):628-637.
Studies show high rates of psychiatric symptoms among methamphetamine users; however, little information exists regarding methamphetamine use and anxiety. This study investigated psychosocial and behavioral correlates of anxiety symptoms in a sample of 245 HIV-positive men having sex with men (MSM) who were enrolled in a sexual risk reduction intervention. In a multiple regression analysis, anxiety symptoms were associated with homelessness, recent experience of HIV symptoms, injection drug use, lifetime sexual abuse, engaging in risky sexual behaviors, and seeking out partners at risky sexual venues when “high” on methamphetamine. These findings can be used to inform and refine sexual risk reduction interventions and substance use treatment programs for HIV-positive methamphetamine-using MSM.
doi:10.1080/09540121.2010.525608
PMCID: PMC3388942  PMID: 21293993
anxiety symptoms; methamphetamine; men who have sex with men; sexual risk behavior; HIV
24.  Contingency management to reduce methamphetamine use and sexual risk among men who have sex with men: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:774.
Background
Methamphetamine use is associated with HIV acquisition and transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). Contingency management (CM), providing positive reinforcement for drug abstinence and withholding reinforcement when abstinence is not demonstrated, may facilitate reduced methamphetamine use and sexual risk. We compared CM as a stand-alone intervention to a minimal intervention control to assess the feasibility of conducting a larger, more definitive trial of CM; to define the frequency of behavioral outcomes to power such a trial; and, to compute preliminary estimates of CM's effectiveness.
Methods
We randomly assigned 127 MSM from Seattle, WA who use methamphetamine to receive a 12-week CM intervention (n = 70) or referral to community resources (n = 57).
Results
Retention at 24 weeks was 84%. Comparing consecutive study visits, non-concordant UAI declined significantly in both study arms. During the intervention, CM and control participants were comparably likely to provide urine samples containing methamphetamine (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 1.09; 95%CI: 0.71, 1.56) and to report non-concordant UAI (aRR = 0.80; 95%CI: 0.47, 1.35). However, during post-intervention follow-up, CM participants were somewhat more likely to provide urine samples containing methamphetamine than control participants (aRR = 1.21; 95%CI: 0.95, 1.54, P = 0.11). Compared to control participants, CM participants were significantly more likely to report weekly or more frequent methamphetamine use and use of more than eight quarters of methamphetamine during the intervention and post-intervention periods.
Conclusions
While it is possible to enroll and retain MSM who use methamphetamine in a trial of CM conducted outside drug treatment, our data suggest that CM is not likely to have a large, sustained effect on methamphetamine use.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01174654
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-774
PMCID: PMC3016390  PMID: 21172026
25.  HIV Risk Profiles Among HIV-Positive, Methamphetamine-Using Men Who Have Sex with Both Men and Women 
Archives of Sexual Behavior  2011;40(4):793-801.
This study examined demographic characteristics, sexual risk behaviors, sexual beliefs, and substance use patterns in HIV-positive, methamphetamine-using men who have sex with both men and women (MSMW) (n = 50) as compared to men who have sex with men only (MSM) (n = 150). Separate logistic regressions were conducted to predict group membership. In the final model, of 12 variables, eight were independently associated with group membership. Factors independently associated with MSMW were acquiring HIV through injection drug use, being an injection drug user, using hallucinogens, using crack, being less likely to have sex at a bathhouse, being less likely to be the receptive partner when high on methamphetamine, having greater intentions to use condoms for oral sex, and having more negative attitudes about HIV disclosure. These results suggest that, among HIV-positive methamphetamine users, MSMW differ significantly from MSM in terms of their HIV risk behaviors. Studies of gay men and HIV often also include bisexual men, grouping them all together as MSM, which may obscure important differences between MSMW and MSM. It is important that future studies consider MSM and MSMW separately in order to expand our knowledge about differential HIV prevention needs for both groups. This study showed that there were important differences in primary and secondary prevention needs of MSM and MSMW. These findings have implications for both primary and secondary HIV prevention among these high-risk populations.
doi:10.1007/s10508-010-9713-1
PMCID: PMC3114110  PMID: 21203813
Men who have sex with men and women; Men who have sex with men; Bisexual; HIV; Methamphetamine; Injection drug use

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