DESCRIPTION: This was a sub-study of the project “HIV/STD Risk Behaviors in Methamphetamine User Networks”. The purpose of the project was to assess the characteristics of the HIV virus in methamphetamine-using MSM that may be associated with efficient transmission of new infections. These characteristics include viral load, genotype, extent of treatment. We also sought to evaluate the behavioral similarities between individuals with treatment-resistant strains of HIV such as their patterns of methamphetamine use, sexual practices, and adherence to regimens with various HIV medication.

OUTCOMES: Findings from this project are particularly significant in that clinicians need evidence to guide decisions regarding whether or not to provide active substance using MSM with access to HAART medications. The reports from these efforts are the best controlled evidence showing that HAART medications swamp the significant effects of methamphetamine on HIV disease progression. Findings are highly significant in that they yield strong support for providing access to HAART medications for HIV-seropositve men who use stimulants.