Stimulant Use and Study Protocol Completion: Assessing the Ability of Men Who Have Sex with Men to Collect Dried Blood Spots for Laboratory Measurement of HIV Viral Load

Richard A. Teran, Adam W. Carrico, Keith J. Horvath, Martin J. Downing, Mary Ann Chiasson, Suzan M. Walters, Sabina Hirshfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stimulant use is associated with higher HIV viral load (VL) and sexual HIV transmission risk among men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV. There is little research on willingness of drug users living with HIV to fully participate in studies, especially those involving self-collection of biomarker data. This study presents findings from an at-home dried blood spot collection study measuring laboratory-quantified VL among U.S. HIV-positive MSM who reported high-risk sexual behavior and/or suboptimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence to assess the association between drug-use behavior and (1) ability to complete a study protocol and (2) VL outcomes. Among recruited participants (n = 766), 35% reported stimulant drug use (amphetamines, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, ecstasy, or a combination of stimulant drugs), 39% reported using other drugs (heroin, marijuana, prescription opioids, and others), and 27% reported no drug use in the past 3 months. In all, 61% of enrolled participants completed the study protocol. Stimulant drug users were less likely (ARR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72–0.98) to complete the protocol than other drug users. Furthermore, other drug users were significantly less likely than non-drug users (ARR 0.52; 95% CI 0.28–0.97) to have an HIV VL result ≥ 1500 copies/mL. This study provides important estimates regarding the likelihood of participation in biomedical research activities among HIV-positive MSM with varying drug-use behaviors, showing that it is feasible to conduct such biomedical studies with drug-using MSM who report high-risk sexual behavior and struggle with their ART adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Dried blood spot testing
  • HIV-1
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Sexual orientation
  • Stimulant drug use
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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