Mobile App Targeting Meth Use, HIV Sex Risks & ART Adherence for Gay/Bisexual Men

Principal Investigator: Cathy J. Reback, Ph.D.
Grant #: 1R41DA036438
Total Project Period: 9/1/13 – 8/31/15

HIV prevalence is significantly higher among men who have sex with men (MSM) who report frequent use of methamphetamine and highest among those meeting diagnostic criteria for methamphetamine dependence. Methamphetamine use among MSM is deeply integrated into socio-sexual networks including digital spaces such as cell phone applications, websites, and digital chat rooms used to “hook up” for sex. Given the available technology and advances in mobile health innovation, it is no longer necessary or reasonable to limit treatment options to physical brick-and-mortar sites. Building upon the efficacy of the manualized, theory-driven methamphetamine-abuse treatment intervention, “Getting Off: A Behavioral Treatment Intervention for Gay and Bisexual Male Methamphetamine Users,” this project will evaluate the feasibility of translating this intervention into a computerized treatment intervention application (“app”). This project will conduct Phase 1 formative research, design and develop a cross-platform treatment app, and conduct a feasibility pilot test of the app. A methamphetamine abuse treatment app will capitalize on the ease in which MSM integrate technology into their daily lives and provide members of this extremely high-risk population with a treatment opportunity that is easily accessible, culturally-competent, and private. The app will then undergo user feasibility pilot testing with a small number of participants (N=15). Both focus group and pilot participants will be representative of a typical consumer of the app. The specific aims of the research project are: 1) To conduct formative work to assist in the development of a culturally competent and consumer responsive computerized app based on the Getting Off methamphetamine-abuse treatment intervention for GBM; 2) To design and develop eight sessions of the Getting Off methamphetamine-abuse treatment intervention into a cross-platform computerized mobile app targeted to reduce methamphetamine use and HIV sexual risk behaviors and increases in ART medication adherence; and, 3) To conduct feasibility pilot testing and refinement of the eight session app.