In the United States, sexual minority men (SMM) – which includes gay and bisexual men, as well as other men who have sex with men (MSM) – are disproportionately affected by HIV. A new paper examines how effective various behavioral interventions are in improving HIV prevention and treatment practices among this population.
The paper, titled A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Combination Behavioral Interventions Co-Targeting Psychosocial Syndemics and HIV-Related Health Behaviors for Sexual Minority Men, was published in the 2020 Annual Review of Sex Research. It was co-authored by David W. Pantalone, Kimberly M. Nelson, Abigail W. Batchelder, Christopher Chiu, Hamish A. Gunn, and Keith J. Horvath. Dr. Pantalone is a Behavioral Scientist at The Fenway Institute, and Dr. Batchelder is a Fenway Institute Affiliated Investigator.
The authors of this paper evaluated 44 previous trials targeting mental health, alcohol and drug use, as well as sexual risk behavior, antiretroviral adherence, and healthcare engagement for SMM. The results supported the efficacy of combined interventions with significant, small, positive effects for improving mental health and reducing substance use, reducing sexual risk behavior, and improving antiretroviral treatment adherence.
“Combination behavioral interventions for SMM that cotarget syndemic factors and health behaviors have the potential to effect significant change in the HIV-related health disparities facing this population,” the authors concluded. “Existing interventions in this area show positive effects on mental health and sexual risk behavior outcomes, although we hope that future iterations of the interventions are able to exert a stronger influence on symptom reduction and behavior change. More work is needed to improve the efficacy of ARV adherence interventions… and [address the] lack of published trials on PrEP adherence interventions – as well as interventions focused on addressing the traumatic sequelae of victimization experiences like CSA [childhood sexual abuse] and partner abuse tailored to SMM.”
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