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ReWired: Treatment and Peer Support for Men who have Sex with Men who use Methamphetamine

Kent Burgess , Simon Ruth , Garth Parkhill , Jeremy Wiggins , Mark Stoove


Methamphetamine may be a significant contributor to HIV transmission risk in men who have sex with men (MSM). Approximately 11% of the MSM in Australia use methamphetamine, with use even higher among MSM living with HIV. Rewired is a model developed to reduce harm associated with methamphetamine use amongst MSM, inclusive of MSM LHIV. This specialist program combines an evidence-based, harm reduction treatment group with a peer support group led by MSM LHIV. The model adapts best practice substance use interventions, and tailors these for MSM using methamphetamine. Rewired assists MSM to manage, reduce or cease methamphetamine use and reduce, drug-related and sexual risk. The centre-piece of Rewired is a group treatment program for MSM who use methamphetamine that equips them with skills and strategies to better manage their use and general health and wellbeing. Participants are also provided the opportunity to join a post-treatment peer support group run by MSM LHIV trained and under clinical supervision. Program evaluation demonstrated treatment group efficacy, with reductions in methamphetamine use and psychological distress and increases in personal wellbeing measured through validated pre- to post-program psychometric scales; these positive outcomes were maintained at 3,6 or 12 months post treatment. Qualitative data also revealed the importance of peer support and a specialist program for this population. It was demonstrated that the integration in treatment of MSM regardless of HIV status provided an effective intervention model. The Rewired program for MSM who use methamphetamine demonstrates the potential for a specialist approach to reduce harm and HIV transmission risk in this vulnerable population and the Program may be translatable to similar developed-country settings.

SH17148  Accepted 17 November 2017

© CSIRO 2017