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Crystal Meth Anonymous: Peer support for drug-related HIV risk reduction

Thomas M. Lyons, PhD1, Gopika Chandra, MD, MPH2, and Jerome Goldstein2. (1) Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, 412 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL 60607, 312-355-0979, thlyons@uic.edu, (2) School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2121 W. Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612

This qualitative study examines a new twelve-step methamphetamine recovery group primarily attended by gay and bisexual men, and its impact on HIV risk behavior. A small sample of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) participants were interviewed in depth within three months of their last substance use, and again six months past baseline (follow-up rate of 77%). Sixty two interviews were conducted, along with ethnographic observations at CMA meetings. After entry into the program, mean reported sexual partners per month fell from 7 to < 1 while unprotected anal intercourse declined by two thirds. HIV positive men were more likely than HIV negative men to report unprotected anal intercourse when using meth, but less likely in recovery. At follow-up, 64% of the sample reinterviewed had remained abstinent from methamphetamine and an additional 20% had used only once in the six month period. While this favorable recovery rate naturally reflects some bias due to dropout, it is significant that number of sexual partners slowly increases over time while unprotected anal intercourse stays low. Our qualitative interviews indicate that the initial reduction in partners is mainly due to fear of relapsing on the drug in sexual situations rather than teachings of CMA itself. However, CMA facilitates discussions around drug use and sexual issues, providing support for men to decouple the behavioral bond between sex and methamphetamine. We conclude by exploring how CMA meetings may foster HIV risk behavior reduction among men having sex with men who are recovering from methamphetamine abuse.

Learning Objectives: The participant will

Keywords: Substance Abuse Treatment, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Handout (.ppt format, 188.0 kb)

Dialogue of Perspectives on Methamphetamine Challenges and Emerging Issues

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA