Systematic review of interventions to reduce problematic alcohol use in men who have sex with men


ISSUES: Rates of heavy drinking, alcohol problems and alcohol-related disorders are high among men who have sex with men (MSM) and are an important public health issue. Associations between heavy drinking and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition among MSM also suggest that drinking may have more severe and chronic consequences for this population relative to others. Consequently, effective interventions to reduce heavy drinking and alcohol-related risk factors among MSM are needed. APPROACH: We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials of interventions to reduce heavy drinking and/or alcohol-related problems among MSM. We searched five electronic databases, screened 3722 records and identified 5 studies involving 1022 participants that satisfied inclusion criteria, which included having: (i) incorporated a comparison condition; (ii) randomised participants to groups; and (iii) reported quantitative outcomes. KEY FINDINGS: The methodological quality of studies varied, and meta-analysis was not conducted because of heterogeneity in intervention approaches and outcomes. Studies provided preliminary support for the use of motivational interviewing/motivational enhancement-based interventions (MI) and hybrid MI and cognitive behavioural therapy treatments for heavy drinking among MSM over no treatment. Perhaps the most important conclusion of this review, however, is that well-designed, theoretically informed research focused on establishing the efficacy of interventions for hazardous drinking and alcohol use disorders among MSM is alarmingly scarce.

CONCLUSIONS: Effective interventions to reduce hazardous drinking among MSM and prevent key alcohol-related outcomes, including risk for HIV transmission and health problems among HIV-positive MSM, are needed to mitigate health disparities in this population.


Wray TB, Grin B, Dorfman L, Glynn TR, Kahler CW, Marshall BD, van den Berg JJ, Zaller ND, Bryant KJ, Operario D




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
  • Substance Use
    • Alcohol


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