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Recreational drug use, polydrug use, and sexual behaviour in HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in the UK: results from the cross-sectional ASTRA study

Daskalopoulou, M; Rodger, A; Phillips, AN; Sherr, L; Speakman, A; Collins, S; Elford, J; ... Lampe, FC; + view all (2014) Recreational drug use, polydrug use, and sexual behaviour in HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in the UK: results from the cross-sectional ASTRA study. Lancet HIV , 1 (1) e22-e31. 10.1016/S2352-3018(14)70001-3. Green open access

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Abstract

Background Recreational drug use in men who have sex with men (MSM) is of concern because it might be linked to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Evidence about drug use in HIV-diagnosed MSM in the UK is limited by representativeness of the study populations. We describe patterns of drug use and associations with sexual behaviours in HIV-diagnosed MSM in the UK. Methods We used data from the cross-sectional ASTRA study, which recruited participants aged 18 years or older with HIV from eight HIV outpatient clinics in the UK between Feb 1, 2011, and Dec 31, 2012. We examined data for MSM, assessing the prevalence of recreational drug use and polydrug use in the previous 3 months and associations with sociodemographic and HIV-related factors. We examined the association of polydrug use with measures of condomless sex in the previous 3 months and with other sexual behaviours. Findings Our analysis included data for 2248 MSM: 2136 (95%) were gay, 1973 (89%) were white, 1904 (85%) were on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 1682 (76%) had a viral load of 50 copies per mL or lower. 1138 (51%) used recreational drugs in the previous 3 months; 608 (27%) used nitrites, 477 (21%) used cannabis, 460 (21%) used erectile dysfunction drugs, 453 (20%) used cocaine, 280 (13%) used ketamine, 258 (12%) used 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA), 221 (10%) used gamma-hydroxybutyrate or gamma-butyrolactone, 175 (8%) used methamphetamine, and 162 (7%) used mephedrone. In the 1138 individuals who used drugs, 529 (47%) used three or more drugs and 241 (21%) used five or more. Prevalence of injection drug use was 3% (n=68). Drug use was independently associated with younger age (p<0·0001), not being religious (p=0·001), having an HIV-positive stable partner (p=0·0008), HIV-serostatus disclosure (p=0·009), smoking (p<0·0001), evidence of harmful alcohol drinking (p=0·0001), and ART non-adherence (p<0·0001). Increasing polydrug use was associated with increasing prevalence of condomless sex (prevalence range from no drug use to use of five or more drugs was 24% to 78%), condomless sex with HIV-seroconcordant partners (17% to 69%), condomless sex with HIV-serodiscordant partners (10% to 25%), and higher-HIV-risk condomless sex after taking viral load into account (4% to 16%; p≤0·005 for all). Associations were similar after adjustment for sociodemographic and HIV-related factors. Methamphetamine was more strongly associated with higher-HIV-risk condomless sex than were other commonly used drugs. Interpretation Polydrug use is prevalent in HIV-diagnosed MSM and is strongly associated with condomless sex. Specialist support services for MSM with HIV who use recreational drugs might be beneficial in the reduction of harm and prevention of ongoing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Type: Article
Title: Recreational drug use, polydrug use, and sexual behaviour in HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in the UK: results from the cross-sectional ASTRA study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S2352-3018(14)70001-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(14)70001-3
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, RISK BEHAVIOR, GAY MEN, CRYSTAL METHAMPHETAMINE, SUBSTANCE USE, BISEXUAL MEN, POSITIVE MEN, CLUB DRUGS, LONDON, TRANSMISSION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1464381
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