The methamphetamine epidemic: implications for HIV prevention and treatment.
ABSTRACT Methamphetamine and related amphetamine compounds are among the most commonly used illicit drugs, with over 35 million users worldwide. In the United States, admissions for methamphetamine treatment have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Methamphetamine use is prevalent among persons with HIV infection and persons at risk for HIV, particularly among men who have sex with men. In addition to being associated with increased sexual risk behavior, methamphetamine causes significant medical morbidity, including neurologic deficits, cardiovascular compromise, dental decay, and skin infections, all of which may be worsened in the presence of HIV/AIDS. Methamphetamine use may also result in decreased medication adherence, particularly during "binging" episodes. Behavioral counseling remains the standard of treatment for methamphetamine dependence, although the effectiveness of most counseling interventions has not been rigorously tested. Pharmacologic and structural interventions may prove valuable additional interventions to reduce methamphetamine use.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:: Disability among long-term methamphetamine (MA) users is multifactorial. This study examined the additive adverse impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, a common comorbidity in MA users, on functional dependence. METHODS:: A large cohort of participants (N = 798) stratified by lifetime MA-dependence diagnoses (ie, MA+ or MA-) and HIV serostatus (ie, HIV+ or HIV-) underwent comprehensive baseline neuromedical, neuropsychiatric, and functional research evaluations, including assessment of neurocognitive symptoms in daily life, instrumental and basic activities of daily living, and employment status. RESULTS:: Independent, additive effects of MA and HIV were observed across all measures of functional dependence, independent of other demographic, psychiatric, and substance-use factors. The prevalence of global functional dependence increased in the expected stepwise fashion across the cohort, with the lowest rates in the MA-/HIV- group (29%) and the highest rates in the MA+/HIV+ sample (69%). The impact of HIV on MA-associated functional dependence was moderated by nadir CD4 count, such that polysubstance use was associated with greater disability among those HIV-infected persons with higher but not lower nadir CD4 count. Within the MA+/HIV+ cohort, functional dependence was reliably associated with neurocognitive impairment, lower cognitive reserve, polysubstance use, and major depressive disorder. CONCLUSIONS:: HIV infection confers an increased concurrent risk of MA-associated disability, particularly among HIV-infected persons without histories of immune compromise. Directed referrals, earlier HIV treatment, and compensatory strategies aimed at counteracting the effects of low cognitive reserve, neurocognitive impairment, and psychiatric comorbidities on functional dependence in MA+/HIV+ individuals may be warranted.Journal of Addiction Medicine 05/2013; · 1.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Introduction and AimsAlcohol and substance use can have negative health consequences among both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive and -negative individuals, and are associated with behaviors that facilitate HIV transmission and acquisition. The relationship of substance use and HIV is well documented among key populations at risk for HIV. However, although transwomen (male-to-female transgender) are disproportionately impacted by HIV, this overlap remains understudied in this population. We sought to evaluate the association between HIV, alcohol and substance use among transwomen.Design and Methods We conducted a secondary data analysis of Respondent Driven Sampling study which collected information on self-reported alcohol and substance use among 314 transwomen. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess relationship between HIV infection and classes and patterns of alcohol and substance use.ResultsWe found that 58% of transwomen used alcohol, and 43.3% used substances. The most common substances used were: marijuana (29%), methamphetamine (20.1%), crack cocaine (13.4%), and ‘club drugs’ (13.1%). Transwomen who reported any methamphetamine use [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.02 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.51–6.02)], methamphetamine use before or during anal intercourse [AOR 3.27 (95% CI = 1.58–6.77)], and at least weekly methamphetamine use [AOR 3.89 (95% CI = 1.64–9.23)] had significantly greater odds of testing positive for HIV.Discussion and Conclusions Transfemales have high prevalence of alcohol and substance use; those tested positive for HIV used significantly more methamphetamine in general, and in conjunction with sex. Given the disproportionate prevalence of HIV and substance use in this population, interventions aimed at addressing both substance use and HIV risk among transwomen are urgently needed. [Santos G-M, Rapues J, Wilson EC, Macias O, Packer T, Colfax G, Raymond HF. Alcohol and substance use among transgender women in San Francisco: Prevalence and association with human immunodeficiency virus infection. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014]Drug and Alcohol Review 04/2014; · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Transitions into more harmful forms of illicit drug use among youth have been identified as important foci for research and intervention. In settings around the world, the transition to crystal methamphetamine (meth) use among youth is considered a particularly dangerous and growing problem. Epidemiological evidence suggests that, particularly among young, street-involved populations, meth use is associated with numerous sex- and drug-related "risks behaviors" and negative health outcomes. Relatively few studies, however, have documented how youth themselves understand, experience and script meth use over time. From 2008 to 2012, we conducted over 100 in-depth interviews with 75 street-entrenched youth in Vancouver, Canada, as well as ongoing ethnographic fieldwork, in order to examine youth's understandings and experiences of meth use in the context of an urban drug scene. Our findings revealed positive understandings and experiences of meth in relation to other forms of drug addiction and unaddressed mental health issues. Youth were simultaneously aware of the numerous health-related harms and social costs associated with heavy meth use. Over time, positive understandings of meth may become entirely contradictory to a lived reality in which escalating meth use is a factor in further marginalizing youth, although this may not lead to cessation of use. Recognition of these multiple truths about meth, and the social structural contexts that shape the scripting of meth use among youth in particular settings, may help us to move beyond moralizing debates about how to best educate youth on the "risks" associated with meth, and towards interventions that are congruent with youth's lived experiences and needs across the lifecourse.Social Science [?] Medicine 03/2014; 110C:41-48. · 2.56 Impact Factor