Harvard study finds substance abuse, mental health problems in MSM interfere with HIV medication adherence

Credit: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for more than 60% of HIV infections in the U.S. and 78% of new infections in men. Antiretroviral therapy can control HIV infection and suppress viral load, but mental health and substance abuse problems common among MSM can interfere with medication adherence. How conditions such as depression and alcohol and drug abuse can affect anti-HIV therapy and the success of various interventions are explored in an article published in LGBT Health.

Jaclyn White, MPH, Janna Gordon, and Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH, Fenway Health, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, review the and specific substances that pose the greatest threat to medication adherence among MSM. Targeted interventions can improve MSM's psychosocial problems while also helping them adhere to their antiretroviral drug regimens. Effective strategies identified through rigorous clinical trials must be translated into clinical practice, suggest the authors in the article "The Role of Substance Use and Mental Health Problems in Medication Adherence among HIV-Infected MSM."

"For people living with HIV, the importance of adherence to antiretroviral therapy cannot be over-emphasized," says Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. "It is essential to preventing both the manifestations of infection in the individual and the sexual transmission of the virus to others. In this article, White and colleagues show the importance of addressing mental health and substance use in antiretroviral adherence interventions for MSM."

More information: The article is available free on the LGBT Health website.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Nov 20, 2014

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells ...

Virus discovery could impact HIV drug research

Nov 20, 2014

A research team led by Portland State University (PSU) biology professor Ken Stedman has unlocked the structure of an unusual virus that lives in volcanic hot springs. The discovery could pave the way for better drugs to ...

UN warns over threat of AIDS rebound

Nov 19, 2014

South African actress Charlize Theron threw her weight Tuesday behind an urgent new UN campaign to end AIDS as a global health threat by 2030.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.