Stimulant use and HIV disease management among men in same-sex relationships

Adam W. Carrico, Sarah E. Woolf-King, Torsten B. Neilands, Samantha E. Dilworth, Mallory O. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Research conducted to date has focused primarily on identifying individual-level, psychological determinants of stimulant use and HIV disease management. The present cross-sectional study examined relationship factors as correlates of stimulant use and HIV disease management among men who have sex with men (MSM). Methods: In total, 266 male couples completed a baseline assessment for a cohort study examining the role of relationship factors in HIV treatment. A computer-based assessment of relationship factors, self-reported alcohol and substance use, and self-reported anti-retroviral therapy (ART) adherence was administered. All HIV-positive participants also provided a blood sample to measure viral load. Results: After controlling for demographic characteristics and relationship factors, men in a primary relationship with a stimulant-using partner had more than six-fold greater odds of reporting any stimulant use in the past three months. Among HIV-positive participants on ART (n= 371), having a stimulant-using partner was independently associated with 67% lower odds of reporting perfect 30-day ART adherence and more than two-fold greater odds of displaying a detectable HIV viral load. In contrast, more partner-level alcohol use was independently associated with greater odds of reporting perfect 3-day ART adherence and lower odds of displaying a detectable HIV viral load. Conclusions: Partner-level stimulant use is an important risk factor for individual-level stimulant use and difficulties with HIV disease management among MSM. To optimize the effectiveness of HIV treatment as prevention, clinical research is needed to develop couples-based interventions targeting stimulant use as a potential driver of detectable HIV viral load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-177
Number of pages4
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Cocaine
  • HIV
  • Methamphetamine
  • Treatment as prevention
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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