Most men in long-term study of HIV report low use of illicit drugs

Jul 21, 2010

Most older gay and bisexual men enrolled in a long-term study of HIV used recreational drugs infrequently over a 10-year period, report University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers at the XVIII International AIDS Conference.

The study explored the drug use habits of 1,378 HIV-positive and negative gay and bisexual men, ages 44 to 63, enrolled in the Pitt Men's Study, part of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), which began in 1983 and is the longest-running National Institutes of Health-funded investigation of HIV/AIDS.

Study researchers surveyed participants about their use of (poppers, crack, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy) between 1998 and 2008. They found that 79 percent of participants reported infrequent drug use, and three subgroups emerged: nearly 6 percent who reported consistently high drug use; more than 7 percent who increased their drug use; and 7 percent who decreased their use of drugs.

"We know that drug use among men who have sex with men contributes to a host of health problems, including infection, but we know very little about how drug use changes as these men age," said Jessica G. Burke, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. "Previous studies have linked drug use in gay men to risky sexual behaviors and to higher rates of , but most of these studies have focused primarily on specific time-points and on younger men."

According to Dr. Burke, the data will provide needed insights to develop interventions for preventing and treating drug use among gay and as they age. Moving forward, she will be combining these results with qualitative data collected through interviews with participants about their experiences with drugs.

"Although a majority of participants reported infrequent drug use, three subgroups of displayed distinct patterns of use over 10 years of midlife. Understanding more about these subgroups and the factors that lead to drug use will give us a better understanding of how we can address this behavior among similar individuals."

Explore further: HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

AIDS group objects to Viagra ads

Dec 14, 2006

An AIDS advocacy group in Los Angeles has asked the makers of Viagra to cease a marketing campaign that appears to promote the drug's recreational use.

High HIV infection rate among Soweto Township gays

Aug 31, 2009

New research from UCSF examining HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the township of Soweto in South Africa has found that a third of gay-identified men are infected with HIV.

L.A. billboards say AIDS a 'gay' disease

Oct 02, 2006

Stunning passersby, billboards have sprung up around Southern California declaring, "HIV is a gay disease," adding the tag line "Own It; End It."

Recommended for you

HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine

2 hours ago

HIV-positive women respond well to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), even when their immune system is struggling, according to newly published results of an international clinical trial. The study's findings ...

HIV battle must focus on hard-hit streets, paper argues

Apr 10, 2014

In U.S. cities, it's not just what you do, but also your address that can determine whether you will get HIV and whether you will survive. A new paper in the American Journal of Public Health illustrates the ef ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...