, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 193-203

Substance Abuse Treatment as HIV Prevention for Men Who Have Sex with Men

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Substance abuse is a prominent risk behavior associated with HIV transmission, particularly for men who have sex with men (MSM) and who engage in sex while using substances. This paper argues that substance abuse treatment has significant value as an HIV-prevention method to the extent that treatment outcome influences sexual risk behaviors for MSM, presumably toward lower risk. We review studies of treatment and HIV risk behaviors for MSM, and describe the current status of effective substance abuse treatments. Clinical issues important to MSM receiving treatment are discussed: gay-specific versus mainstream treatment, gay sexuality issues in substance abuse treatment, gay Alcoholics Anonymous, and ethnicity issues. Based on these arguments, we make the following policy recommendations: (1) develop treatment strategies that target substance use and high-risk sexual behavior simultaneously, (2) recognize treatment as HIV prevention in this population, and (3) educate counselors on cultural and sexual risk issues specific to substance-abusing MSM.