Does the association between stimulant use and high risk sexual behavior vary by injection drug use, sexual minority status, or HIV infection status? A meta-analysis


There is strong evidence linking stimulant use, namely methamphetamine use, to sexual risk behavior among sexual minority men (SMM); we do not, however, have a good understanding of this relationship among other at-risk populations. In this study, we systematically reviewed associations between stimulant use (i.e., methamphetamine, crack cocaine, cocaine) and sexual risk behaviors among populations facing elevated risk of HIV transmission and acquisition (i.e., SMM, people who inject drugs (PWID), and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH)). Random-effects meta-analyses and sensitivity analyses that included crude and adjusted estimates separately were conducted to evaluate the impact of potential confounding variables. The results showed strong relationships between stimulant use and condomless sex, transactional sex, and multiple sexual partners. Results were broadly consistent when analyses were stratified by type of stimulant (methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and other stimulants) and risk group. Sensitivity analyses with confounding variables did not greatly impact results. The results indicate that stimulant use is associated with numerous sexual risk behaviors regardless of risk group, suggesting prevention efforts focused on reducing methamphetamine-related HIV risk should target a range of at-risk populations.


Feelemyer JP, Richard E, Khan MR, Scheidell JD, Caniglia EC, Manandhar-Sasaki P, Ban KF, Charles D, Braithwaite RS




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • People who use drugs
    • General HIV- population
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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