Risk Reduction for Urban Substance Using MSM

Steven P. Kurtz, Principal Investigator
James A. Inciardi, Co-Investigator
Hilary L. Surratt, Co-Investigator
Ron Stall (University of Pittsburgh), Co-Investigator
Steven S. Martin, Senior Data Analyst

Initiated: 2008

Funding Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Project Summary:

This study aims to test a new intervention based upon psychological empowerment theory that, in preliminary field tests, produced high levels of acceptability and participation, as well as large reductions in sexual risks and substance use, among a sample of high risk, substance-using, socially isolated men who have sex with men (MSM). The intervention being tested is based upon a theory of MSM health risk behaviors that posits that urban gay subcultures present risk environments that become problematic for a sizable minority of MSM who live in them. The risk factors include a lack of economic production, normative hyper-sexuality and substance use, homophobia, sexual competitiveness, and an emphasis on entertainment and escapism. Within this context, the specific aims of this study are: 1) To describe the nature and extent of substance use and sexual risk behaviors in a sample of 500 sexually active, substance-using, not-in-treatment MSM in two urban South Florida counties (Miami-Dade and Broward [Ft. Lauderdale]); 2) To identify the independent covariates of baseline substance abuse and sexual risks; 3) To evaluate, through random assignment of participants, the relative effectiveness of two intervention conditions in reducing sexual risks and substance use, as measured at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up assessments: a) an innovative five-session risk reduction intervention derived from psychological empowerment theory and b) a community standard-of-care HIV counseling Comparison Condition.