Substance-use and sexual harm reduction strategies of methamphetamine-using men who have sex with men and inject drugs

J. Michael Wilkerson, Syed W. Noor, Ellen D. Breckenridge, Adeniyi A. Adeboye, B. R.Simon Rosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Research indicates that men who have sex with men (MSM), use methamphetamine, and inject drugs are at high risk of HIV infection and they employ multiple harm reduction strategies simultaneously to reduce that risk. In this study, we identified substances most commonly injected and harm reduction strategies most often employed by methamphetamine-using MSM, used latent class analysis (LCA) to identify patterns of harm reduction strategies, and differentiated MSM within each class by individual characteristics. We analyzed data from 284 participants who completed an online cross-sectional survey. Commonly injected substances were methamphetamine (93.70%), gamma-hydroxybutyrate/gamma-butyrolactone (41.55%), flunitrazepam (40.49%), and cocaine (35.56%). The substance-use strategies most often used were avoidance of sharing needles (85.92%) and use of bleach to clean drug paraphernalia (64.08%). The sexual strategy most often used was avoidance of condomless anal intercourse (CAS) while using drugs (77.11%). Using an LCA approach, we identified three classes distinguishable by age, race/ethnicity, and outness. One class (19%) employed lay strategies to reduce harm: they avoided sharing drug preparation equipment, serosorted when sharing needles and equipment or having CAS, and practiced withdrawal when having CAS. The largest class (53%) combined sexual and substance-use strategies: they avoided sharing needles, used bleach to clean needles and equipment, avoided CAS when using drugs, and used extra lubricant when having CAS. The remaining class (28%) employed only substance-use rather than sexual strategies. More MSM of color were in the substance-use class, and more young, non-Hispanic White men were in the lay class. The low utilization of sexual strategies by younger, non-Hispanic White men in the lay class is concerning as they are just as likely as older, non-Hispanic White men in the combined class to have CAS with multiple male partners. Interventionists should consider these differences when developing interventions tailored to methamphetamine-using MSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1054
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Internet-Based HIV Prevention for Methamphetamine-using MSM: Formative Research (ParTy) study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health [grant number 1R21MH095430]. Research protocols were approved by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Boards.


  • HIV prevention
  • gay men
  • injection drug use
  • latent class analysis
  • methamphetamine

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