Pilot Trial of an Expressive Writing Intervention with HIV-Positive Methamphetamine-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men

Adam W. Carrico, Austin Nation, Walter Gómez, Samantha E. Dilworth, Mallory O. Johnson, Judith T. Moskowitz, Carol Dawson Rose, Jeffrey Sundberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Among men who have sex with men (MSM), the co-occurrence of trauma and stimulant use has negative implications for HIV/AIDS prevention. HIV-positive, methamphetamine-using MSM were recruited to pilot test a 7-session, multicomponent resilient affective processing (RAP) intervention that included expressive writing exercises targeting HIV-related traumatic stress. An open-phase pilot with 10 participants provided support for feasibility of intervention delivery such that 99% of the RAP sessions were completed in a 1-month period. Subsequently, 23 additional participants were enrolled in a pilot randomized controlled trial of the RAP intervention (n= 12) versus an attention-control condition that included writing exercises about neutral topics (n=11). Acceptability was evidenced by participants randomized to RAP expressing significantly more negative emotions in their writing and reporting greater likelihood of recommending expressive writing exercises to a friend living with HIV. Over the 3-month follow-up period, attention-control participants reported significant decreases in HIV-related traumatic stress while RAP intervention participants reported no significant changes. Compared to attention-control participants, those in the RAP intervention reported significant reductions in the frequency of methamphetamine use immediately following the 1-month RAP intervention period. Thematic analyses of RAP expressive writing exercises revealed that multiple negative life events characterized by social stigma or loss contribute to the complex nature of HIV-related traumatic stress. Findings support the feasibility and acceptability of an exposure-based intervention targeting HIV-related traumatic stress. However, more intensive intervention approaches that simultaneously target trauma and stimulant use will likely be needed to optimize HIV/AIDS prevention efforts with this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • HIV/AIDS
  • exposure
  • men who have sex with men
  • methamphetamine
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Carrico, A. W., Nation, A., Gómez, W., Dilworth, S. E., Johnson, M. O., Moskowitz, J. T., Rose, C. D., & Sundberg, J. (2015). Pilot Trial of an Expressive Writing Intervention with HIV-Positive Methamphetamine-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(2), 277-282. https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000031