Horny and High: Sexual Risk Behaviors and Substance Use Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men

Green College Population Health Lecture Series
5-6:30 pm, Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Green College Coach House (UBC)
UBC link to the event, CLICK HERE

Abstract:
As HIV infection rates remain disproportionally high among young gay and bisexual men in the United States, there is a need to both better understand determinants of sexual risk are paramount, as well as to develop and evaluate behavioral interventions to reduce risk. Dr. Parsons will present data from the Young Men’s Health Project, a 5-year study of young (ages 18-29) HIV-negative gay and bisexual drug using men in New York City. Men were recruited into a baseline assessment study, and then offered the opportunity to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of two 4-session individual interventions aimed at reducing risky sex and substance use. Baseline data examined independent and interactive effects of substance use, mental health, perceived benefits of unprotected sex, and type of sex partner on odds of not using condoms. Substance use and endorsing favorable attitudes towards unprotected sex strongly predicted sexual risk. Mental health moderated the relationship between partner type (main vs. casual) and condom use such that increased anxiety and depression were associated with increased odds of using condoms with main partners and not using condoms with casual partners. Participants in the RCT were randomized to a 4-session motivational interviewing intervention or a 4-session education intervention – both focused on sexual risk and substance use. Participants in both conditions significantly reduced their drug use and sexual risk, however those in the motivational interviewing condition had significantly stronger effects. Dr. Parsons will discuss implications for prevention with this population.

About the Speaker:
Jeffrey T. Parsons is CUNY Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Public Health and the Director of the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST). He is also a member of the doctoral faculty in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Health Psychology, and Public Health programs at CUNY. Dr. Parsons’ research revolves around issues concerning HIV/AIDS. Most of his work centers on sexual risk behavior change, but reducing alcohol and other drug use and improving adherence to HIV medications are also the focus of some of the current interventions being tested. He is the Editor of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, and an Associate Editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior and AIDS and Behavior.

For further information about the Green College Population Health Lecture Series:
Please contact the series convenor, Dr. Richard Carpiano (richard[email protected])