To measure substance use across racial and ethnic subgroups of HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), model associations between drug use and unsafe sex, and characterize users of the substances most strongly associated with risky sexual behavior.
Cross-sectional survey at the pre-intervention time point of the Positive Connections behavioral intervention trial.
HIV-positive men of color who have sex with men living in six US cities.
675 trial participants.
Self-reported drug and alcohol use and sexual behaviors.
We found high prevalence of substance use in this sample, with differences across racial and ethnic groups. Compared to Hispanic, African America, and men of other or mixed races/ethnicities, Caucasian men were most likely to report use of stimulants (30%), methamphetamines (27%), and amyl nitrite inhalants (“poppers”, 46%) with anal sex. African American men reported crack/cocaine use in the highest proportion (38%) among the four groups. While many drugs were individually associated with serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse (SDUAI), only alcohol quantity and poppers with sex were retained in a multivariate model. More frequent poppers use was associated with more reported instances of SDUAI, adjusted for increased anal sex. Men who used poppers were more likely to be white, have completed more education, and have slightly higher income than non-users. Poppers users also reported lower peer norms and self-efficacy for condom use. In a multiple logistic regression model including these psychosocial factors, only poppers use (vs non-use OR = 2.46, CI: 1.55, 3.94) and condom self-efficacy (1 sd increase on scale OR = .58, CI: .46, .73) were significantly associated with SDUAI.
These results, from a large sample of HIV-positive MSM of color, highlight the HIV transmission importance of drugs used specifically in conjunction with sex.