Young MSM who use methamphetamine appear to be at high risk for HIV infection, according to the authors of this cross-sectional observational analysis of data from eight U.S. cities.
The participants, MSM ages 12 to 24, were recruited from social venues -- including clubs, parks, and street corners -- between Jan. 3, 2005, and Aug. 21, 2006, as part of the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions. The main outcome measures were meth use in the past 90 days and reported sexual risk behaviors compared with individuals reporting no hard drug use and those reporting hard drug use in the past 90 days.
Among the population of 595 young MSM: 64 reported recent meth use; 87 reported use of hard drugs other than meth; and 444 reported no recent hard drug use. The survey results from recent meth users compared to respondents with no recent hard drug use were as follows -- history of STDs: 51.6 percent vs. 21.1 percent; two or more sex partners in the previous 90 days: 85.7 percent vs. 63.1 percent; sex with injection drug user: 51.6 percent vs. 10.7 percent; sex with an HIV-positive person: 32.8 percent vs. 11.1 percent (P<.05 for all, n=441).
Also compared to hard drug nonusers, recent meth users were more likely to have a history of homelessness (71.9 percent vs. 28.4 percent) and less likely to be attending school (35.9 percent vs. 60.4 percent); P<.001 for both.
"Adolescent boys and young men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine seem to be at high risk for [HIV]," the authors concluded. "Prevention programs among this age group should address issues like housing, polydrug use, and educational needs."