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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases