FRI Researcher Receives R01 Award

FRI is pleased to announce that Cathy J. Reback, Ph.D. was awarded a NIH NIDA R01 grant entitled, “Theory-based Text Messaging to Reduce Methamphetamine Use and HIV Risks among MSM.” Methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men (MSM) is deeply integrated into socio-sexual networks including commercial sex venues and digital spaces such as cell phone applications, websites, and digital chat rooms to “hook up” for sex. Thus, methamphetamine use is highly associated with HIV infection due specifically to concomitant high-risk sexual behaviors that occur while using the drug. Text-messaging is a novel, feasible, and sustainable approach for targeting high-risk, out-of-treatment MSM; particularly, MSM who fail to attend face-to-face or site-based interventions. A real-time text-messaging intervention capitalizes on a communication channel to which this population will attend at the exact time they are most likely to make high-risk sexual decisions. The “real-time” theoretically based text-messaging HIV prevention intervention will reach out-of-treatment, methamphetamine-using MSM while they are in the contexts of greatest risk and interrupt both drug use and HIV sexual risk behaviors. The study will assess the impact of an 8-week, gay-specific, theory-based text-messaging intervention designed to decrease methamphetamine use and HIV sexual risk behavior and, for the HIV-infected participants, simultaneously increase HIV antiretroviral treatment/adherence in out-of-treatment, methamphetamine-using MSM. Participants will receive text messages that are personally tailored to fit their risk profile; the theory-based text messages serve as the mechanisms of behavior change. Participants will be randomized into one of three conditions: Group 1: culturally relevant theory-based text messages interactively transmitted by peer health educators; or, Group 2: the same culturally relevant theory-based text messages transmitted by automation; or, Group 3: assessment-only control with no theoretically based text messages. All participants will receive brief weekly text-message assessments on their methamphetamine use and HIV sexual behaviors in the previous seven days. The study will determine differential immediate and sustained effects and cost effectiveness of the text-messaging intervention to reduce methamphetamine use and concomitant HIV sexual risk behaviors and, for the HIV-infected participants, increase HIV antiretroviral treatment/adherence.