Re-Wired: treatment and peer support for men who have sex with men who use methamphetamineKent Burgess A D , Garth Parkhill A , Jeremy Wiggins A , Simon Ruth A and Mark Stoovè B C
A Victorian AIDS Council, 615 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.
B Alfred Hospital, 55 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.
C Burnet Institute, Centre for Population Health, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17148
Submitted: 16 August 2017 Accepted: 17 November 2017 Published online: 16 March 2018
Background: This paper examines a methamphetamine treatment and peer support program for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who use methamphetamine. Australian MSM use illicit drugs including methamphetamine at significantly higher rates than the broader community1,2. Methamphetamine rates are higher again amongst HIV positive MSM. Methamphetamine in the MSM community is associated with sexual activity and may be associated with psychosocial harms including risk of the transmission of HIV and sexually transmissible infections3,4,7,8. Methods: This paper presents the formal evaluation of Re-Wired, Australia’s first structured methamphetamine treatment and support program for MSM, consisting of a free, six week therapeutic group and Re-Wired 2.0, a follow up peer support group. Data collection included baseline and post intervention administration of the Kessler Scale of Psychological Distress (K10) and the Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT), the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) and the Readiness to Change Questionnaire (RCQ). This was complemented with qualitative session feedback and a small number of post intervention participant interviews. Results: Program evaluation demonstrated modest improvements in participant psychological distress, personal well-being and stage of change and reductions in methamphetamine use post intervention. Qualitative data revealed benefits of a specialised harm reduction intervention for this population through addressing fear of discrimination and stigma. Conclusions: The presented harm reduction program for MSM who use methamphetamine demonstrates the potential for a specialist peer-based approach to reduce harm in this vulnerable population. This approach may be suitable for adaptation with MSM populations in similar high-income settings.
Additional keywords: Community interventions, drug use, gay men, harm reduction, HIV prevention, HIV risk, illicit drug use, Injecting drug use, peer support, STI risk, therapeutic group.
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