A Pilot Randomized Trial of Intervention Components Addressing Drug Use in Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC) with Male Couples

Abstract

Men who have sex with men (MSM) experience high rates of substance use and HIV infection. Main partners are the source of many (35–68%) of these new HIV infections. This study developed and examined the efficacy of two adjunct components to couples HIV testing and counseling (CHTC)—communication training (CT) videos and a substance use module (SUM)—to reduce drug use and sexual HIV transmission risk in MSM couples. Participants included 70 male couples randomized into one of four conditions: CHTC, CHTC + CT videos, CHTC + SUM, and CHTC + CT videos + SUM. Participants completed a survey pre-intervention and 1-, 3-, and 6-months later. Completion of the SUM in the absence of CT videos was associated with significant immediate decreases in drug use and related problems; however, at 3- and 6-month follow ups, the SUM was only associated with reductions in drug use and related problems among men who also viewed the CT videos. There were no between-condition differences in sexual behavior. CHTC may serve as a vehicle for the delivery of brief substance use intervention for MSM couples.

ClinicalTrails.gov NCT # 03125915

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the contributions of the We Test Project Team, particularly Mark Pawson, Andrew Cortopassi, Nahuel Smith Bacerra, Ruben Jimenez, Chris Hietikko, and Scott Jones. We also thank Rich Jenkins for his support of the project as well as CHEST staff, recruiters, interns and our participants who volunteered their time.

Funding

Collection and analyses of these data were supported by a National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant (R34 DA036419; PI Starks).

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Correspondence to Tyrel J. Starks.

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Tyrel Starks, Trey Dellucci, Sugandha Gupta, Gabriel Robles, Patrick Sullivan, and Rob Stephenson have no conflicts of interest to declare. Jeffrey Parsons’ spouse is the owner of Mindful Designs, which received a contract to produce the communication skills training video tested.

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Starks, T.J., Dellucci, T.V., Gupta, S. et al. A Pilot Randomized Trial of Intervention Components Addressing Drug Use in Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC) with Male Couples. AIDS Behav 23, 2407–2420 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02455-2

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Keywords

  • HIV prevention
  • HIV testing
  • Gay couples
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Drug use