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

June 11, 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
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."

Explore further: HIV racial disparities noted for men who have sex with men

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

Related Stories

HIV racial disparities noted for men who have sex with men

July 20, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Similar racial disparities are seen in HIV infection for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to a study published online July 20 in The Lancet.

Intimate partner violence in men who have sex with men is linked to adverse health effects

March 4, 2014
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is linked to greater risk of mental and physical health symptoms, substance misuse, and sexually transmitted infections, according to a research article ...

Study finds HIV-infected men at risk for spreading HIV despite taking HAART

March 27, 2012
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Fenway Health have found that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) does not completely suppress HIV in the semen of sexually active HIV-infected men ...

Cutting HIV in drug users can benefit others' AIDS mortality

March 26, 2014
(HealthDay)—Efforts to curb HIV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID) and non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) may reduce AIDS and AIDS-related mortality among heterosexuals, according to a study published in the ...

High prevalence of anal HPV in men who have sex with men

May 8, 2014
(HealthDay)—For men who have sex with men (MSM), the prevalence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is high, according to a study published online March 23 in HIV Medicine.

Researcher studies what makes people with HIV successful at sticking with antiretroviral treatment

April 11, 2014
At the end of 2011, an estimated 34 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. In Alberta, the total was 1,532. Thanks to scientific improvements in antiretroviral therapy, many of these Albertans are living long ...

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

0 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.