Publications by authors named "Jeffrey T Parsons"

315 Publications

Stress-Related Growth among Transgender Women: Measurement, Correlates, and Insights for Clinical Interventions.

J Homosex 2021 May 14:1-24. Epub 2021 May 14.

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, New York, USA.

Although transgender women (TGW), and especially TGW of color, are disproportionately exposed to discrimination and violence, many of them experience stress-related growth. However, little is known about the experience of stress-related growth and its correlates among TGW. Using data from a racially-diverse sample of 210 TGW, the short version of the Stress-Related Growth Scale was modified to assess growth as a result of coming to terms with one's transgender identity among TGW. The psychometric properties of the modified scale were examined, along with its associations with various cognitive, emotional, and social factors. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed a unidimensional factor, along with excellent reliability. A stepwise regression revealed that positive reappraisal, internal locus of control, social support, and emotional expression were associated with greater stress-related growth. Findings suggest that cognitive, emotional, and social resources are related to stress-related growth in TGW. Interventions to foster stress-related growth among TGW are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2021.1921511DOI Listing
May 2021

The importance of domain-specific self-efficacy assessment for substance use and HIV care continuum outcomes among adults in an urban HIV clinic network.

AIDS Care 2021 Mar 22:1-9. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.

Despite the prominence of self-efficacy as a predictor of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, relatively little work has examined domain-specific associations with steps in the care continuum or the possibility that substance use may have domain-specific associations with self-efficacy. This study analyzed data from a sample of 174 people living with HIV recruited through three clinics in the New York City metro area. Consistent with hypotheses, path analysis showed that appointments kept and viral load were each predicted only by their respective domain-specific self-efficacy components (i.e., self-efficacy for keeping appointments, = 0.01, = .04; and self-efficacy for taking ART medications, = -0.02,  < .01). Path models also indicated domain-specific associations with substance use. Self-efficacy for keeping appointments was negatively associated with severity of drug use (= -1.81, < .01); meanwhile, self-efficacy for taking ART medications was negatively associated with severity of alcohol use (= -0.52, < .01). Accordingly, studies assessing barriers to retention in the HIV care continuum should conduct multi-domain assessments of self-efficacy for differential associations with specific behaviors. Furthermore, HIV care providers might consider screening for domain-specific self-efficacy to identify patients at risk of drop-out and tailoring interventions to various care continuum domains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2021.1904501DOI Listing
March 2021

Research Priorities to End the Adolescent HIV Epidemic in the United States: Viewpoint.

JMIR Res Protoc 2021 Jan 4;10(1):e22279. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States.

Youth represent 21% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) youth, particularly those from communities of color, and youth who are homeless, incarcerated, in institutional settings, or engaging in transactional sex are most greatly impacted. Compared with adults, youth have lower levels of HIV serostatus awareness, uptake of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and adherence. Widespread availability of ART has revolutionized prevention and treatment for both youth at high risk for HIV acquisition and youth living with HIV, increasing the need to integrate behavioral interventions with biomedical strategies. The investigators of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) completed a research prioritization process in 2019, focusing on research gaps to be addressed to effectively control HIV spread among American youth. The investigators prioritized research in the following areas: (1) innovative interventions for youth to increase screening, uptake, engagement, and retention in HIV prevention (eg, pre-exposure prophylaxis) and treatment services; (2) structural changes in health systems to facilitate routine delivery of HIV services; (3) biomedical strategies to increase ART impact, prevent HIV transmission, and cure HIV; (4) mobile technologies to reduce implementation costs and increase acceptability of HIV interventions; and (5) data-informed policies to reduce HIV-related disparities and increase support and services for GBT youth and youth living with HIV. ATN's research priorities provide a roadmap for addressing the HIV epidemic among youth. To reach this goal, researchers, policy makers, and health care providers must work together to develop, test, and disseminate novel biobehavioral interventions for youth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/22279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813632PMC
January 2021

Exploring potential implementation barriers and facilitators of the SMART Program, a stepped-care package of eHealth HIV prevention interventions for adolescent men who have sex with men.

Sex Res Social Policy 2020 Sep 10;17(3):378-388. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.

Little is known about how to best implement eHealth HIV interventions for adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) in real-world settings. In response, our current study describes formative implementation research with community-based organizations (CBOs) in preparation for future implementation of the SMART Program, a stepped-care package of three interventions adapted for AMSM. In-depth interviews focusing on eHealth implementation were conducted with a convenience sample of 12 stakeholders from nine CBOs that actively implemented sexual-minority-focused HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Qualitative analysis was conducted using Dedoose to identify salient themes. Most programs implemented at the CBOs engaged adult MSM for HIV prevention, but CBOs reported less experience with outreach of AMSM for HIV prevention. While comfortable with and skilled at implementing traditional in-person HIV prevention programs, interviewees reported that eHealth programs fell outside of their organizations' technical capacities. They suggested specific strategies to facilitate successful implementation of SMART and other eHealth programs, including technical-capacity-building at CBOs, better training of staff, and partnering with a national coordinating center that provides support for the technology. Overall, the CBOs reported enthusiasm for the SMART Program and thought it an efficient way to bridge their current gaps in online programming and lack of AMSM HIV prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13178-019-00402-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7462358PMC
September 2020

Comparative Effectiveness of Community-Based vs Clinic-Based Healthy Choices Motivational Intervention to Improve Health Behaviors Among Youth Living With HIV: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 08 3;3(8):e2014650. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Health Psychology and Clinical Science Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York.

Importance: Youth living with HIV make up one-quarter of new infections and have high rates of risk behaviors but are significantly understudied. Effectiveness trials in real-world settings are needed to inform program delivery.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of the Healthy Choices intervention delivered in a home or community setting vs a medical clinic.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This randomized clinical trial was conducted from November 1, 2014, to January 31, 2018, with 52 weeks of follow-up. Participants, recruited from 5 adolescent HIV clinics in the United States, were youths and young adults living with HIV aged 16 to 24 years who were fluent in English, were currently prescribed HIV medication, had a detectable viral load, and had used alcohol in the past 12 weeks. Individuals with an active psychosis that resulted in an inability to complete questionnaires were excluded. Data were analyzed from May to December, 2019.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive the Healthy Choices intervention in either a home or clinic setting. Four 30-minute individual sessions based on motivational interviewing to improve (1) medication adherence and (2) drinking behavior were delivered during 10 weeks by trained community health workers. In session 1, participants chose which behavior to discuss first. Using motivational interviewing strategies, the community health worker elicited motivational language, guided the development of an individualized change plan while supporting autonomy, delivered feedback, and addressed knowledge gaps. Session 2 focused on the second target behavior. In subsequent sessions, community health workers reviewed the individualized change plan, monitored progress, guided problem solving, and helped maintain changes made.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Primary outcomes were viral load and alcohol use change trajectories during 52 weeks of follow-up. Alcohol use severity and frequency were measured using the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) (scores range from 0 to 33, with higher scores indicating greater severity of alcohol-related problems) and number of drinks consumed each day over a 30-day period, with timeline followback.

Results: A total of 183 young people living with HIV (145 male [79.2%]; mean [SD] age, 21.4 [1.9] y) were randomized to the home setting (n = 90) or clinical setting (n = 93). Using growth-curve analysis, both groups showed declines in viral load after the intervention: among participants with available viral load information, in the home group, 12 participants (21%) had an undetectable viral load at 16 weeks, 12 (22%) at 28 weeks, and 10 (20%) at 52 weeks; in the clinic group, 16 participants (24%) had an undetectable viral load at 16 weeks, 20 (39%) at 28 weeks, and 18 (35%) at 52 weeks. However, the clinic group maintained gains, whereas those counseled at home had a significantly different and increasing trajectory during follow-up (unstandardized β = -0.07; 95% CI,-0.14 to -0.01; P = .02). A similar pattern was observed in ASSIST scores during follow-up, with reduced ASSIST scores in the clinic group (unstandardized β = -0.44; 95% CI,-0.81 to -0.07; P = .02).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this trial, the Healthy Choices intervention resulted in improvements in viral load and alcohol use over 12 months. Unexpectedly, the clinic setting outperformed home-based delivery for viral suppression. Although cross-sectional differences in ASSIST scores were nonsignificant, clinic delivery did improve the trajectory of ASSIST scores during follow-up. Thus, clinics may be the more effective site for interventions aimed at viral load reduction for young people living with HIV.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01969461.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14650DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450347PMC
August 2020

Sexual Subcultures and HIV Prevention Methods: An Assessment of Condom Use, PrEP, and TasP Among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men Using a Social and Sexual Networking Smartphone Application.

Arch Sex Behav 2021 May 29;50(4):1781-1792. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, USA.

Despite being grouped together in epidemiological risk categories, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) are not a homogenous group. In addition to traditional segmentation along race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, many GBM also identify with sexual subcultural communities. Previous research has shown differences across a variety of health outcomes between these sexual subcultural communities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether HIV prevention practices among GBM differed according to sexual subcultural community. The study was conducted in collaboration with a popular social and sexual networking smartphone application company. A total of 23,577 GBM responded to the survey. A latent class analysis identified 6 distinct classes related to sexual subcultural community identification. We found significant differences across sociodemographic characteristics, HIV prevention practices, and condomless anal sex in the past 6 months related to sexual subculture identification. Findings suggest that sexual subcultural identity is related to decision-making around HIV prevention among GBM. Differences in HIV prevention strategies are likely a function of group norms, unique shared experiences among GBM identifying with a particular sexual subculture community, and sociodemographic characteristics associated with these groups. As such, sexual subculture identity should be considered in developing interventions and social marketing campaigns to increase uptake of biomedical HIV prevention tools among GBM. Identifying group norms and shared experiences related to HIV prevention practices among sexual subcultures is necessary to understand the role these identities play in lives of GBM, especially as it relates to their sexual health and well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01784-xDOI Listing
May 2021

The Mediating Role of Psychological Distress in the Association between Harassment and Alcohol Use among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Military Personnel.

Subst Use Misuse 2020 12;55(12):2055-2063. Epub 2020 Jul 12.

Independent, Teaneck, New Jersey, USA.

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating role of psychological distress on the associations between two forms of harassment, military sexual trauma (MST) and sexual orientation-based discrimination (SOBD), and alcohol use in a sample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) military personnel. Data were analyzed from 254 LGB military service members in the United States. Bivariate associations were examined between MST, SOBD, anxiety and depression, distress in response to stressful military events, and alcohol use. A latent psychological distress factor was estimated using anxiety and depression, and distress in response to stressful military events. Path analyses were used to estimate the direct effects of MST and SOBD on alcohol use and the indirect effects of MST and SOBD on alcohol use through psychological distress. All bivariate associations were positive and significant between MST, SOBD, anxiety and depression, distress in response to military events, and alcohol use. In multivariable analyses, after adjusting for demographic covariates, a significant indirect effect was observed for SOBD on alcohol use through psychological distress. MST was not directly or indirectly associated with alcohol use when SOBD was included in the path model. Overall, findings suggest SOBD is associated with poorer mental health, which in turn places LGB military personnel at greater risk of alcohol use and associated problems. These results affirm the need for interventions that reduce SOBD in the military and suggest that these interventions will have a positive impact on the health of LGB military personnel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2020.1790007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518327PMC
June 2021

Randomized controlled trial protocol for project BRIDGE: A telephone-administered motivational interviewing intervention targeting risky sexual behavior in older people living with HIV.

Contemp Clin Trials 2020 08 28;95:106047. Epub 2020 May 28.

Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care, VA Portland Healthcare System, 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Electronic address:

Purpose: By 2020, 70% of people living with HIV in the United States will be greater than 50 years of age. As many as 37% of sexually active older people living with HIV (OPLWH) engage in HIV transmission sexual behaviors. In spite of repeated calls for secondary prevention interventions to reduce condomless sex in OPLWH, no age-appropriate, evidence-based secondary prevention interventions exist for this group. Furthermore, many OPLWH face barriers to engaging in face-to-face secondary prevention services because of HIV- and age-related stigma, comorbid mental and physical health conditions that complicate travel, or geographic isolation. High rates of depression in OPLWH may further complicate engagement in interventions intended to reduce HIV transmissions. Telephone-administered motivational interviewing may be a feasible and efficacious intervention for this population.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial will test the efficacy of a 5-session telephone-administered motivational interviewing plus behavioral skills training (teleMI+BST) intervention versus a 5-session telephone-administered coping effectiveness training (teleCET) control intervention to reduce condomless sex in OPLWH. A diverse sample of 336 OPLWH will be recruited across the U.S. The primary analysis will test the efficacy of teleMI+BST to reduce occasions of non-condom protected anal and vaginal intercourse with HIV serodiscordant sex partners. Secondary analyses will examine the efficacy of teleMI+BST to reduce depressive symptoms in mildly depressed OPLWH.

Conclusion: This is the first large-scale RCT intended to reduce HIV sexual transmission risk behavior in OPLWH and will add to the literature on secondary prevention telehealth interventions for people living with HIV. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03004170. This trial has been conducted by the approval of the Institutional Review Board. Participants provided verbal consent to participate in this trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2020.106047DOI Listing
August 2020

Measuring Experiences of Minority Stress for Transgender Women: Adaptation and Evaluation of Internalized and Anticipated Transgender Stigma Scales.

Transgend Health 2020 Mar 16;5(1):42-49. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Private Consultant, Teaneck, New Jersey.

Transgender women (TGW) experience high rates of stigma based on their gender identity. Research has documented how transgender stigma and other discrimination negatively contribute to health inequities, including higher rates of depression compared with the general population. However, few scales measuring transgender stigma exist, even fewer that specifically assess anticipated or internalized transgender stigma. We sought to validate an adapted transgender stigma scale in a diverse sample of TGW. We adapted an existing stigma measure to capture experiences of anticipated and internalized transgender stigma for TGW. Adapted measures were completed by 213 diverse TGW. Factor analysis was completed to reduce the number of items in each scale and sociodemographic differences in each construct were explored. The final nine items comprising anticipated transgender stigma and the five items for internalized transgender stigma both showed evidence of adequate model fit, unidimensionality, and internal consistency. The two constructs were moderately correlated with one another (=0.36, <0.001). We identified educational and HIV status differences in anticipated transgender stigma but no sociodemographic differences in internalized transgender stigma. We developed brief measures of internalized and anticipated transgender stigma through initial adaptation by TGW themselves and subsequent psychometric evaluation, demonstrating evidence of unidimensionality and internal consistency. These subscales were only moderately associated with one another and may provide unique insights in future research on minority stress among TGW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/trgh.2019.0059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7173692PMC
March 2020

Rates of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Use and Discontinuation Among a Large U.S. National Sample of Sexual Minority Men and Adolescents.

Arch Sex Behav 2020 01 16;49(1):103-112. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, USA.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective in the prevention of HIV acquisition and was recently approved for those under 18 years of age. The primary goal of the present study was to understand the prevalence of and factors associated with PrEP use among a large sample of young and adult sexual minority men (Y/SMM). Participants came from a larger national sample of SMM. Data collected included demographics, substance use, PrEP use, and sexual risk. Participants were recruited via sexual networking/dating applications and resided in the U.S. including Puerto Rico, were at least 13 years old, self-reported being HIV-negative, and identified as male. The sample was divided into two groups: YSMM (13-24 years of age) and adult SMM (25 years of age and up). Multinomial logistic regressions examining associations with never, current, and former PrEP use were run with all variables of interest simultaneously entered into the models. Age was positively associated with both former and current PrEP use among YSMM. Additionally, YSMM who identified as gay (vs. bisexual), lived in the Northeast, Midwest, and West (vs. South), had their own health insurance (vs. those on their parent's), had recently been diagnosed with an STI, and had recently used a drug all had higher odds of being a current PrEP user compared to those that had never used PrEP. Among adult SMM, those who were older did not have higher odds of current PrEP use compared to those that had never used PrEP. Those who identified as queer (vs. gay), single, had their own or were on their partner's insurance (vs. parent's), recent condomless anal sex, recent STI diagnosis, recent drug use, and recent substance use all had higher odds of being a current PrEP user compared to those that had never used PrEP. Research is needed to address the disparities in PrEP uptake among YSMM. Interventions for PrEP access among those on their parents' insurance may also be necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01602-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7028359PMC
January 2020

Biomedical HIV Prevention among Gay Male Couples: A Qualitative Study of Motivations and Concerns.

J Homosex 2021 Jul 6;68(8):1353-1370. Epub 2019 Dec 6.

Health Psychology and Clinical Science program, The Graduate Center of City University of New York, New York, New York, USA.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are highly efficacious biomedical prevention strategies, which significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Yet, partnered sexual minority men (SMM) continue to exhibit poorer uptake rates especially those in a non-monogamous or serodiscordant relationship for whom PrEP is recommended. The purpose of the study was to identify factors that may facilitate or impede the uptake of PrEP or PEP among partnered SMM. This qualitative study conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 sexual minority male couples recruited from the New York City metropolitan area. Thematic analysis identified relationship-specific and structural-level factors, which influence motivation and willingness for biomedical prevention uptake. Specifically, results highlighted the tension between relationship functioning and HIV prevention. In addition, stigma and access to knowledgeable health care providers diminished interest in biomedical prevention. Findings suggest a need for interventions that frame biomedical prevention in ways that minimize social perceptions of mistrust between partners and improve access.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2019.1696105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7274863PMC
July 2021

Spirituality and Multiple Dimensions of Religion Are Associated with Mental Health in Gay and Bisexual Men: Results From the Cohort.

Psycholog Relig Spiritual 2019 Nov 27;11(4):408-416. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST).

The purpose of this study was to determine the association between religion, spirituality, and mental health among gay and bisexual men (GBM). A U.S. national sample of 1,071 GBM completed an online survey that measured demographic characteristics, religiosity, religious coping, spirituality, and four mental health constructs (i.e., depressive symptoms, rejection sensitivity, resilience, and social support). Hierarchal linear regressions determined the associations between each mental health construct, demographic variables, and the spirituality and religion variables. Controlling for demographic characteristics, spirituality was negatively associated with depression and rejection sensitivity, and positively associated with resilience and social support (all < .001). Religiosity was positively associated with rejection sensitivity ( < .05) and negatively associated with resilience ( < .01). Religious coping was positively associated with depression ( < .001) and rejection sensitivity ( < .05) and negatively associated with resilience ( < .05) and social support (p < .05). The interaction of spirituality with religion was significantly associated with all mental health variables. In general, religious GBM with higher levels of spirituality had better mental health outcomes. Spirituality was significantly positively associated with positive mental health outcomes and negatively associated with negative ones. Religion-solely expressed through behaviors and lacking the functional components of spirituality such as meaning-making and connection to the sacred-was associated with mental health problems among GBM. Public health interventions and clinical practice aimed at decreasing negative mental health outcomes among GBM may find it beneficial to integrate spirituality into their work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rel0000146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6892427PMC
November 2019

Psychosocial Well-Being and HIV-Related Immune Health Outcomes among HIV-Positive Older Adults: Support for a Biopsychosocial Model of HIV Stigma and Health.

J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care 2019 Jan-Dec;18:2325958219888462

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY, USA.

Evidence suggests that psychosocial stress negatively impacts immunological health in HIV-positive individuals. However, few studies have explored this association in substance-using older adults living with HIV (OALWH). We evaluated the effect of depression, loneliness, substance use problems, and HIV stigma on primary markers of immune function in a sample of 120 OALWH with substance-related issues. HIV stigma correlated with the greatest number of factors, including depression, loneliness, and substance use problems. Older age and antiretroviral adherence were associated with viral suppression, which was in turn associated with higher percentage of CD4 count. Multivariate path analyses demonstrated that lower HIV stigma and viral suppression were the only factors independently associated with higher percentage of CD4 count, with a significant indirect effect of adherence on CD4 through viral suppression. HIV stigma emerged as the most salient factor associated with both psychosocial well-being and immune health in the current study, suggesting that it is a critical factor to consider in future interventions for the rapidly growing population of OALWH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2325958219888462DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893929PMC
July 2020

Cardiovascular and psychopathological factors among non-sexually compulsive, sexually compulsive, and hypersexual individuals in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Psychol Health Med 2020 01 12;25(1):121-129. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY, USA.

We decided to explore the frequency of cardiovascular risk factors, according to three levels of severity of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), namely, non-sexually compulsive (1), sexually compulsive (2), and sexually compulsive, and hypersexual (3). We also investigated the impact of a psychiatric co-morbidity on the Framingham heart risk score (FRS). 94 non-sexually compulsive, 57 sexually compulsive, and 60 hypersexual individuals underwent psychiatric interview, blood collection, self-responsiveness, and anthropometric measurement. The analyses were repeated with individuals aged up to 44 and aged more than 44 years old. Regarding the total sample, we observed significant association among those sexually compulsive, and hypersexual participants with presenting the HIV serologic status, and a greater proportion of psychiatric conditions as much as the severity of CSB increases. Individuals with substance-related disorder predicted higher Framingham scores. The analyses with people aged more than 44 years old presented some different results, such as association among presenting low FRS and the sexually compulsive participants, and sexual compulsivity predicted lower scores of the Framingham. The study points out to the relevance of comprehensive psychiatric examination of whom presenting CSB and opens an avenue forward investigation of the effect of high rates of sexual activity on cardiovascular risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2019.1687916DOI Listing
January 2020

What is the Role of the Community? Examining Minority Stress Processes among Gay and Bisexual Men.

Stigma Health 2019 Aug 2;4(3):300-309. Epub 2018 Jul 2.

The Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY.

Gay and bisexual men suffer from higher rates of mental health disorders than their heterosexual counterparts. Minority stress theory provides the framework for much research that seeks to explain this discrepancy. Recently, several studies have also examined the role of connection with the gay community with mixed results. Operationalizing gay community connectedness in terms of two separate constructs-community involvement and community identification-this study sought to examine and compare the role that each of these factors plays in affecting gay and bisexual men's mental health. We analyzed data from 371 gay and bisexual men in New York City, focusing on measures of minority stress factors, gay community connectedness, and mental health outcomes. As hypothesized, factor analysis showed that the community connectedness scale loaded onto two sub-factors corresponding to the theorized constructs of identification and involvement. Linear regression models adjusting for potential confounding factors showed that community involvement was significantly associated with better mental health outcomes. Community involvement also significantly moderated the impact of internalized homonegativity on mental health. This factor was not a significant moderator of the impact of sexual orientation discrimination on mental health, and community identification was not significantly associated with mental health outcomes. It also did not significantly moderate the effect of either minority stress factor. Future research would benefit from developing an updated and highly reliable measure of community involvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sah0000143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6724721PMC
August 2019

Attachment as a Predictor of Psychological and Sexual Wellbeing Among Transgender Women in New York City.

J Sex Res 2019 Nov-Dec;56(9):1192-1202. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV and experience high rates of depression and anxiety. The importance of secure attachment in buffering against negative sexual and mental health outcomes is well established. However, few studies have examined attachment among transgender women. We recruited a community-based convenience sample of 213 transgender women in New York City (34.3; = 11.7). The majority were women of color (75.6%), almost half identified as heterosexual (47.4%), and 34.7% were HIV-positive. Preliminary analyses examined the sample distribution across attachment categories using the Revised Experiences in Close Relationships scale. Specifically, Brennan, Clark and Shaver's guidelines were used for categorization (43.19% fearful, 22.5% preoccupied, 21.6% dismissive, and 12.7% secure). Regression analyses examined the association of dimensional attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, and their interaction with depression, anxiety, self-efficacy for condom use, temptations for condomless sex, and condomless sex acts. Results indicated a positive association between attachment anxiety and depression, anxiety, temptations and probability for condomless sex; and also between attachment avoidance and condomless sex probability. A significant interaction indicated that individuals with low attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance (i.e., secure) had the greatest condom use self-efficacy and the lowest probability of engaging in condomless sex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1644486DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791782PMC
September 2020

Motivational Interviewing to Reduce Drug Use and HIV Incidence Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men in Relationships and Are High Priority for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (Project PARTNER): Randomized Controlled Trial Protocol.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Jul 4;8(7):e13015. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, United States.

Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) currently account for more than two-thirds of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and, among young MSM (YMSM) aged 20 to 29 years, as many as 79% to 84% of new infections occur between primary partners. Contributing to HIV risk, YMSM use drugs at comparatively high rates. To date, no interventions have been developed that specifically address the unique needs of partnered YMSM or incorporate a focus on relationship factors in addressing personal motivation for change.

Objective: The study's primary aim is to evaluate the efficacy of the PARTNER intervention and evaluate potential moderators or mediators of intervention effects. The study's secondary aims were to gather ideographic data to inform a future effectiveness implementation study and develop a novel biomarker for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence by analyzing PrEP drug levels in fingernails.

Methods: PARTNER is a 4-session motivational interviewing-based intervention that integrates video-based communication training to address drug use and HIV prevention among partnered YMSM. This study utilizes a randomized controlled trial design to compare the PARTNER intervention with an attention-matched psychoeducation control arm that provides information about HIV-risk reduction, PrEP, and substance use. Participants are randomized in a 1-to-1 ratio stratified on age disparity between partners, racial composition of the couple, and relationship length. Follow-up assessments are conducted at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-months postbaseline. The study recruits and enrolls 240 partnered YMSM aged between 18 to 29 years at a research center in New York City. Participants will be HIV-negative and report recent (past 30-day) drug use and condomless anal sex with casual partners; a nonmonogamous primary partner (regardless of HIV status); or a serodiscordant primary partner (regardless of sexual agreement). Primary outcomes (drug use and HIV sexual transmission risk behavior) are assessed via a Timeline Follow-back interview. Biological markers of outcomes are collected for drug use (fingernail assay), sexual HIV transmission risk (rectal and urethral gonorrhea and chlamydia testing), and PrEP adherence (dried blood spots and fingernails for a novel PrEP drug level assay).

Results: The study opened for enrollment in February 2018. Anticipated completion of enrollment is October 2021. Primary outcome analyses will begin after final follow-up completion.

Conclusions: Existing research on partnered YMSM within the framework of Couples Interdependence Theory (CIT) has suggested that relationship factors (eg, dyadic functioning and sexual agreements) are meaningfully related to drug use and HIV transmission risk. Results pertaining to the efficacy of the proposed intervention and the identification of putative moderators and mediators will substantially inform the tailoring of interventions for YMSM in relationships and contribute to a growing body of relationship science focused on enhancing health outcomes.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03396367; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03396367 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/78ti7esTc.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/13015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/13015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6637725PMC
July 2019

Testing a Motivational Interviewing Implementation Intervention in Adolescent HIV Clinics: Protocol for a Type 3, Hybrid Implementation-Effectiveness Trial.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Jun 7;8(6):e11200. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, United States.

Background: Motivational interviewing (MI) has been shown to effectively improve self-management for youth living with HIV (YLH) and has demonstrated success across the youth HIV care cascade-currently, the only behavioral intervention to do so. Substantial barriers prevent the effective implementation of MI in real-world settings. Thus, there is a critical need to understand how to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs), such as MI, and promote behavior change in youth HIV treatment settings as risk-taking behaviors peak during adolescence and young adulthood.

Objective: This study aims to describe the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) protocol of a tailored MI (TMI) implementation-effectiveness trial (ATN 146 TMI) to scale up an EBP in multidisciplinary adolescent HIV settings while balancing flexibility and fidelity. This protocol is part of the Scale It Up program described in this issue.

Methods: This study is a type 3, hybrid implementation-effectiveness trial that tests the effect of TMI on fidelity (MI competency and adherence to program requirements) while integrating findings from two other ATN protocols described in this issue-ATN 153 Exploration, Preparations, Implementation, Sustainment and ATN 154 Cascade Monitoring. ATN 153 guides the mixed methods investigation of barriers and facilitators of implementation, while ATN 154 provides effectiveness outcomes. The TMI study population consists of providers at 10 adolescent HIV care sites around the United States. These 10 clinics are randomly assigned to 5 blocks to receive the TMI implementation intervention (workshop and trigger-based coaching guided by local implementation teams) utilizing the dynamic wait-listed controlled design. After 12 months of implementation, a second randomization compares a combination of internal facilitator coaching with the encouragement of communities of practice (CoPs) to CoPs alone. Participants receive MI competency assessments on a quarterly basis during preimplementation, during the 12 months of implementation and during the sustainment period for a total of 36 months. We hypothesize that MI competency ratings will be higher among providers during the TMI implementation phase compared with the standard care phase, and successful implementation will be associated with improved cascade-related outcomes, namely undetectable viral load and a greater number of clinic visits among YLH.

Results: Participant recruitment began in August 2017 and is ongoing. As of mid-May 2018, TMI has 150 active participants.

Conclusions: This protocol describes the underlying theoretical framework, study design, measures, and lessons learned for TMI, a type 3, hybrid implementation-effectiveness trial, which has the potential to scale up MI and improve patient outcomes in adolescent HIV settings.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03681912; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03681912 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/754oT7Khx).

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11200.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/11200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6682301PMC
June 2019

Adolescent Male Couples-Based HIV Testing Intervention (We Test): Protocol for a Type 1, Hybrid Implementation-Effectiveness Trial.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Jun 7;8(6):e11186. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, United States.

Background: Young men who have sex with men (YMSM), particularly those who are partnered, are at unique risk for HIV. YMSM are among those at highest risk for HIV. Meanwhile, despite the fact that primary partners account for many-possibly most-new HIV infections, partnered men who have sex with men perceive themselves to be at much lower risk for HIV infection and therefore test less often than single men. In response to the risk of primary partner HIV transmission, couples HIV testing and counseling (CHTC) procedures have been developed for use in adult populations. Although promising, YMSM couples may require additional support to complete CHTC given their developmental context in which sexual and romantic relationships are relatively new, and communication skills are emergent.

Objective: The aim of this study was to test the additive benefit of adjunct treatment components tailored for YMSM, which enhance communication skills before the completion of CHTC. The intervention tests a continuum of prevention packages including assertive communication training videos and motivational interviewing focused on assisting with identification and development (MI-AID) before entering into the dyadic intervention components. This protocol is part of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN) Scale It Up program described in this issue.

Methods: This is a comparative effectiveness trial that will be executed in 3 phases. Phase 1 will gather qualitative data related to intervention development and implementation from partnered YMSM at 4 subject recruitment venues (SRVs). Phase 2 will compare a continuum of these interventions in a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) at 2 SRVs. Phase 3 will compare the most successful adapted intervention package from phase 2 to CHTC as usual in a larger RCT at 4 SRVs. This phase is focused on implementation and sustainment phases of the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment framework.

Results: Phase 1 data will be drawn from qualitative interviews with partnered YMSM (n=24) and staff from ATN sites (n=20). Baseline enrollment for phase 2 is expected to begin across 2 SRVs in June 2018 (n=36). In phase 2, survey data collection along with HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing will occur at baseline, and 1- and 3-month (postintervention) follow-ups. Phase 3 will begin enrollment across 4 SRVs in September 2019 (n=144) and follow-ups will occur at 1, 3, 6, and 9 months postintervention.

Conclusions: Although MI-AID, video-based assertive communication training, and CHTC have established efficacy when administered on their own, this study will be the first to evaluate the strongest adjunctive version of these interventions to address the specific developmental needs of partnered YMSM.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03386110; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03386110 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/75mlO7GCx).

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11186.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/11186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6592501PMC
June 2019

High willingness to use novel HIV and bacterial sexually transmitted infection partner notification, testing, and treatment strategies among gay and bisexual men.

Sex Transm Infect 2020 05 12;96(3):173-176. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Department of Community Health and Social Sciences, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, New York, USA

Objectives: We sought to determine willingness of gay and bisexual men (GBM) to give HIV self-testing (HIVST) kits with patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) and engage in geosocial sexual networking (GSN) app-based partner notification.

Methods: A nationwide sample of GBM who self-tested HIV negative (n786) were asked about their willingness to give recent sex partners (main and casual) PDPT with an HIVST kit (PDPT+HIVST) after hypothetical bacterial STI (BSTI) diagnosis. Men were also asked about their willingness to notify sexual partners met on GSN apps using an anonymous app function after BSTI diagnosis. We examined associations of relationship status and condomless anal sex with casual partners, recent BSTI diagnosis and perceived risk of HIV on PDPT+HIVST and anonymous app-based partner notification willingness (dichotomised) using binary logistic regressions, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education and US region. From the partner's perspective after receiving an app-based referral, frequency measures were used to report intentions for obtaining subsequent HIV/BSTI counselling and testing, engaging in HIVST if provided a free voucher, and obtaining BSTI treatment from a pharmacy with prescription voucher.

Results: Most (90.1%) were willing to give PDPT+HIVST to recent sex partners after STI diagnosis, and nearly all (96.4%) were willing to notify sex partners met online using an anonymous function within GSN apps. Regardless of casual partner condomless anal sex engagement, partnered GBM had higher odds of reporting willingness to give PDPT+HIVST compared with single men who recently engaged in condomless anal sex with a casual partner. If anonymously notified via an app, 92.5% reported they would likely obtain counselling and testing, 92.8% would engage in HIVST if provided a free voucher, and 93.4% would obtain treatment from a pharmacy with prescription voucher.

Conclusions: GBM generally found novel partner notification, testing, and treatment strategies acceptable, indicating the need for feasibility and cost-effectiveness evaluations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2019-053974DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6906259PMC
May 2020

Cascade Monitoring in Multidisciplinary Adolescent HIV Care Settings: Protocol for Utilizing Electronic Health Records.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 May 30;8(5):e11185. Epub 2019 May 30.

College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States.

Background: Past research shows that youth living with HIV (YLH) are not as engaged in the HIV treatment cascade as other HIV-positive populations. To achieve the health benefits of rapid and widespread testing and advanced pharmacologic treatment, YLH must be fully engaged in every stage of the treatment cascade. Cascade monitoring provides an opportunity to assess the youth care cascade, including engagement in care and when youth commonly drop out of care, across 10 clinical sites in the United States. Collecting electronic health record (EHR) data for prevention and care across participant recruitment venues within the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN) allows for monitoring of the prevention and care cascades within the ATN, for comparing the ATN population to large-scale surveillance, for future integration of technology-based interventions into EHRs, and for informing ATN strategic planning.

Objective: The aim of this protocol study is to examine the trends in treatment cascade, including whether patients are receiving antiretroviral therapy, adhering to regimens, attending care appointments, and maintaining suppressed viral loads, to guide new protocol development and to facilitate community engagement. This protocol is part of the ATN Scale It Up (SIU) program described in this issue.

Methods: Deidentified EHR data of YLH, aged 15 to 24 years, will be collected annually (2017 to 2022) from 10 ATN clinical sites, resulting in patient data from 2016 to 2021. These data will be transferred and stored using Dropbox Business, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant site and then analyzed by the SIU analytic core.

Results: This study was launched in December 2017 in 10 clinical sites, with 2016's EHR data due on January 31, 2017. All 10 sites electronically uploaded their EHR data. The mandatory variables requested to monitor cascade of care include date of visit, age, gender, height, weight, race, ethnicity, viral load, and International Classification of Diseases codes for other diagnosis. In total, 70% of the sites provided data for all mandatory variables. The remaining mandatory variables were manually extracted.

Conclusions: This study will provide a platform to determine how YLH across the nation progress through or drop out of the HIV treatment cascade. It will also provide a foundation for assessing impact of SIU projects on treatment cascade outcomes.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11185.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6658287PMC
May 2019

Implementation Science Research Examining the Integration of Evidence-Based Practices Into HIV Prevention and Clinical Care: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study Using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) Model.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 May 23;8(5):e11202. Epub 2019 May 23.

College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States.

Background: The Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) model is an implementation framework for studying the integration of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into real-world settings. The EPIS model conceptualizes implementation as a process starting with the earliest stages of problem recognition (Exploration) through the continued use of an EBP in a given clinical context (Sustainment). This is the first implementation science (IS) study of the integration of EBPs into adolescent HIV prevention and care settings.

Objective: This protocol (ATN 153 EPIS) is part of the Scale It Up program, a research program administered by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), described in this issue by Naar et al. The EPIS study is a descriptive study of the uptake of 4 EBPs within the Scale It Up program. The goal of EPIS is to understand the barriers and facilitators associated with the Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment of EBPs into HIV prevention and clinical care settings.

Methods: The EPIS study is a convergent parallel mixed-methods IS study. Key implementation stakeholders, that is, clinical care providers and leaders, located within 13 ATN sites across the United States will complete a qualitative interview conducted by telephone and Web-based surveys at 3 key implementation stages. The Preparation assessment occurs before EBP implementation, Implementation occurs immediately after sites finish implementation activities and prepare for sustainment, and Sustainment occurs 1 year postimplementation. Assessments will examine stakeholders' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to EBP implementation within their clinical site as outlined by the EPIS framework.

Results: The EPIS baseline period began in June 2017 and concluded in May 2018; analysis of the baseline data is underway. To date, 153 stakeholders have completed qualitative interviews, and 91.5% (140/153) completed the quantitative survey.

Conclusions: The knowledge gained from the EPIS study will strengthen the implementation and sustainment of EBPs in adolescent prevention and clinical care contexts by offering insights into the barriers and facilitators of successful EBP implementation and sustainment in real-world clinical contexts.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11202.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/11202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6552408PMC
May 2019

Implementation Science Research Examining the Integration of Evidence-Based Practices Into HIV Prevention and Clinical Care: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study Using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) Model.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 May 23;8(5):e11202. Epub 2019 May 23.

College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States.

Background: The Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) model is an implementation framework for studying the integration of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into real-world settings. The EPIS model conceptualizes implementation as a process starting with the earliest stages of problem recognition (Exploration) through the continued use of an EBP in a given clinical context (Sustainment). This is the first implementation science (IS) study of the integration of EBPs into adolescent HIV prevention and care settings.

Objective: This protocol (ATN 153 EPIS) is part of the Scale It Up program, a research program administered by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), described in this issue by Naar et al. The EPIS study is a descriptive study of the uptake of 4 EBPs within the Scale It Up program. The goal of EPIS is to understand the barriers and facilitators associated with the Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment of EBPs into HIV prevention and clinical care settings.

Methods: The EPIS study is a convergent parallel mixed-methods IS study. Key implementation stakeholders, that is, clinical care providers and leaders, located within 13 ATN sites across the United States will complete a qualitative interview conducted by telephone and Web-based surveys at 3 key implementation stages. The Preparation assessment occurs before EBP implementation, Implementation occurs immediately after sites finish implementation activities and prepare for sustainment, and Sustainment occurs 1 year postimplementation. Assessments will examine stakeholders' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to EBP implementation within their clinical site as outlined by the EPIS framework.

Results: The EPIS baseline period began in June 2017 and concluded in May 2018; analysis of the baseline data is underway. To date, 153 stakeholders have completed qualitative interviews, and 91.5% (140/153) completed the quantitative survey.

Conclusions: The knowledge gained from the EPIS study will strengthen the implementation and sustainment of EBPs in adolescent prevention and clinical care contexts by offering insights into the barriers and facilitators of successful EBP implementation and sustainment in real-world clinical contexts.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11202.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/11202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6552408PMC
May 2019

Implementation Science Research Examining the Integration of Evidence-Based Practices Into HIV Prevention and Clinical Care: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study Using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) Model.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 May 23;8(5):e11202. Epub 2019 May 23.

College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States.

Background: The Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment (EPIS) model is an implementation framework for studying the integration of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into real-world settings. The EPIS model conceptualizes implementation as a process starting with the earliest stages of problem recognition (Exploration) through the continued use of an EBP in a given clinical context (Sustainment). This is the first implementation science (IS) study of the integration of EBPs into adolescent HIV prevention and care settings.

Objective: This protocol (ATN 153 EPIS) is part of the Scale It Up program, a research program administered by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN), described in this issue by Naar et al. The EPIS study is a descriptive study of the uptake of 4 EBPs within the Scale It Up program. The goal of EPIS is to understand the barriers and facilitators associated with the Preparation, Implementation, and Sustainment of EBPs into HIV prevention and clinical care settings.

Methods: The EPIS study is a convergent parallel mixed-methods IS study. Key implementation stakeholders, that is, clinical care providers and leaders, located within 13 ATN sites across the United States will complete a qualitative interview conducted by telephone and Web-based surveys at 3 key implementation stages. The Preparation assessment occurs before EBP implementation, Implementation occurs immediately after sites finish implementation activities and prepare for sustainment, and Sustainment occurs 1 year postimplementation. Assessments will examine stakeholders' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to EBP implementation within their clinical site as outlined by the EPIS framework.

Results: The EPIS baseline period began in June 2017 and concluded in May 2018; analysis of the baseline data is underway. To date, 153 stakeholders have completed qualitative interviews, and 91.5% (140/153) completed the quantitative survey.

Conclusions: The knowledge gained from the EPIS study will strengthen the implementation and sustainment of EBPs in adolescent prevention and clinical care contexts by offering insights into the barriers and facilitators of successful EBP implementation and sustainment in real-world clinical contexts.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11202.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6552408PMC
May 2019

Model-Based Methods to Translate Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions Findings Into Policy Recommendations: Rationale and Protocol for a Modeling Core (ATN 161).

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Apr 16;8(4):e9898. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.

Background: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 60,000 US youth are living with HIV. US youth living with HIV (YLWH) have poorer outcomes compared with adults, including lower rates of diagnosis, engagement, retention, and virologic suppression. With Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) support, new trials of youth-centered interventions to improve retention in care and medication adherence among YLWH are underway.

Objective: This study aimed to use a computer simulation model, the Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC)-Adolescent Model, to evaluate selected ongoing and forthcoming ATN interventions to improve viral load suppression among YLWH and to define the benchmarks for uptake, effectiveness, durability of effect, and cost that will make these interventions clinically beneficial and cost-effective.

Methods: This protocol, ATN 161, establishes the ATN Modeling Core. The Modeling Core leverages extensive data-already collected by successfully completed National Institutes of Health-supported studies-to develop novel approaches for modeling critical components of HIV disease and care in YLWH. As new data emerge from ongoing ATN trials during the award period about the effectiveness of novel interventions, the CEPAC-Adolescent simulation model will serve as a flexible tool to project their long-term clinical impact and cost-effectiveness. The Modeling Core will derive model input parameters and create a model structure that reflects key aspects of HIV acquisition, progression, and treatment in YLWH. The ATN Modeling Core Steering Committee, with guidance from ATN leadership and scientific experts, will select and prioritize specific model-based analyses as well as provide feedback on derivation of model input parameters and model assumptions. Project-specific teams will help frame research questions for model-based analyses as well as provide feedback regarding project-specific inputs, results, sensitivity analyses, and policy conclusions.

Results: This project was funded as of September 2017.

Conclusions: The ATN Modeling Core will provide critical information to guide the scale-up of ATN interventions and the translation of ATN data into policy recommendations for YLWH in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/resprot.9898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6488956PMC
April 2019

Trajectories of sexual identity development and psychological well-being for highly sexually active gay and bisexual men: A latent growth curve analysis.

Psychol Sex Orientat Gend Divers 2019 Mar 20;6(1):64-74. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

The Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY, USA.

Objective: Examining sexual identity development-the process through which sexual minorities discover and disclose their sexual orientations-within a minority stress framework may help to contextualize sexual and mental health disparities among gay and bisexual men. Research on sexual identity development has typically focused on ages of achieving specific milestones (i.e., awareness, identification, sexual experience, and disclosure), though differences in onset and speed of the process and impact of these trajectories on healthy functioning in adulthood are understudied.

Method: We analyzed cross-sectional data from 374 highly sexually active gay and bisexual men in NYC. Using latent growth curve modelling, we examined trajectories of sexual identity development through the four primary milestones. We next examined their associations with childhood and background characteristics, adult experiences of sexual minority stress, and adult mental health.

Results: Gay sexual identity and greater childhood gender nonconformity were associated with earlier reported onset of sexual identity development and younger age was significantly associated with faster progression through the developmental process. The model showed that faster progression through sexual identity development was associated with higher levels of sexual orientation-based discrimination, emotion dysregulation, sexual compulsivity, and anxiety and depression in adulthood.

Conclusions: These findings support the need for a comprehensive and developmentally-informed model of adulthood functioning among gay and bisexual men that considers trajectories of sexual identity development-including onset and duration-as potential precursors to mental health difficulties in adulthood. Given the early onset of sexual identity development and potential lifelong sequelae, early prevention programs promoting positive sexual identity development are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000308DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6456266PMC
March 2019

The role of chronotype, circadian misalignment, and tiredness in the substance use behaviors of gay and bisexual men.

Psychol Sex Orientat Gend Divers 2019 Mar 5;6(1):96-106. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Health Psychology and Clinical Sciences doctoral program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 USA.

Although the potential of alcohol and drugs to detrimentally affect sleep has been established, the potential of tiredness to in turn influence substance use has received less attention. We contend that tiredness increases risk for substance use because tiredness impairs self-regulation and heightens the utility of substances to combat tiredness, albeit temporarily-and that these links are especially important because decision-making regarding use often occurs late at night when people are tired. Accordingly, we investigated chronotype, circadian misalignment, and perceived tiredness as risk factors in substance use among gay and bisexual men (GBM). We analyzed two online survey datasets-one of 3,696 GBM and one of 1,113 GBM-asking participants about their time for most frequently using alcohol or club/party drugs, their chronotype, whether they use substances to stay awake, and use severity. Alcohol use and club/party drug use most often occurred from 9pm onwards (for 51.3% and 75.1% of men, respectively), especially among younger men and evening types. Further, many men with a morning chronotype reported most often using alcohol (33.2%) and drugs (64.7%) from 9pm onwards, implicating circadian misalignment. Additionally, feeling tired was a motivator of alcohol use and drug use (for 53.1% and 26.9% of men, respectively), especially among younger men. Finally, those endorsing this motivation had greater use severity. These findings highlight the importance of chronotype, circadian misalignment, and tiredness in substance use, especially among younger men. We therefore recommend including substance use among the behaviors adversely affected by tiredness from circadian misalignment and inadequate/overdue sleep.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426147PMC
March 2019

A Pilot Randomized Trial of Intervention Components Addressing Drug Use in Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC) with Male Couples.

AIDS Behav 2019 09;23(9):2407-2420

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY), 695 Park Ave. 611 Hunter North, New York, NY, 10065, USA.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) experience high rates of substance use and HIV infection. Main partners are the source of many (35-68%) of these new HIV infections. This study developed and examined the efficacy of two adjunct components to couples HIV testing and counseling (CHTC)-communication training (CT) videos and a substance use module (SUM)-to reduce drug use and sexual HIV transmission risk in MSM couples. Participants included 70 male couples randomized into one of four conditions: CHTC, CHTC + CT videos, CHTC + SUM, and CHTC + CT videos + SUM. Participants completed a survey pre-intervention and 1-, 3-, and 6-months later. Completion of the SUM in the absence of CT videos was associated with significant immediate decreases in drug use and related problems; however, at 3- and 6-month follow ups, the SUM was only associated with reductions in drug use and related problems among men who also viewed the CT videos. There were no between-condition differences in sexual behavior. CHTC may serve as a vehicle for the delivery of brief substance use intervention for MSM couples.ClinicalTrails.gov NCT # 03125915.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02455-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6910720PMC
September 2019

The Effects of Intersecting Stigma: A Longitudinal Examination of Minority Stress, Mental Health, and Substance Use among Black, Latino, and Multiracial Gay and Bisexual Men.

Psychol Violence 2018 Nov;8(6):669-679

The Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), New York, NY, USA.

Objective: Although Black, Latino, and multiracial gay and bisexual men (GBM) are disproportionately affected by health inequities facing GBM more broadly in the United States (CDC, 2017), there is a dearth of research examining how intersectional stigma affects psychological and behavioral outcomes such as depressive and anxiety symptoms and substance use. Based in minority stress and intersectionality theories, this study examined the main and intersectional effects of racial discrimination and gay rejection sensitivity on emotion regulation difficulties, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and later drug use and heavy drinking.

Method: We collected longitudinal data from 170 GBM of Black, Latino, or multiracial descent. Measurements included baseline racial discrimination, gay rejection sensitivity, and emotion regulation difficulties, 6 month depressive and anxiety symptoms, and baseline to 12 month heavy drinking and drug use. We analyzed data using longitudinal structural equation models.

Results: Our results indicated that racial discrimination and its interaction with gay rejection sensitivity were significantly associated with higher levels of emotion regulation difficulties, which predicted higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms at 6 months, which, in turn, predicted higher levels of heavy drinking, but not drug use, at 12 months. Moreover, the total indirect effect from the stigma variables to heavy drinking was statistically significant.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that it is critical for researchers and clinicians to consider the effects of intersecting racial and sexual minority stress on emotion regulation in the persistence of psychological and behavioral health inequities facing Black, Latino, and multiracial GBM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/vio0000218DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6415673PMC
November 2018

The Impact of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Use on Sexual Anxiety, Satisfaction, and Esteem Among Gay and Bisexual Men.

J Sex Res 2019 Nov-Dec;56(9):1128-1135. Epub 2019 Feb 19.

Health Psychology and Clinical Science Doctoral Program, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Gay and bisexual men (GBM) with heightened fears of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition have reported high levels of sexual anxiety and low sexual self-esteem. Similarly, sexual satisfaction has been reported to be lower among some GBM who rely solely on condom use as HIV prevention. We sought to explore whether pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) had an impact on the sexual satisfaction, anxiety, and esteem of GBM. As part of a longitudinal cohort study of 1,071 GBM, participants reported at three time points on PrEP use and completed the Multidimensional Sexual Self-Concept Questionnaire (MSSCQ). A total of 137 GBM began taking PrEP in the 24 months following baseline. Comparing their responses during times before initiating PrEP and after, within adjusted multilevel models, there was a significant decrease in sexual anxiety (B = -0.27, p = 0.03) but no significant changes in sexual esteem or satisfaction. Our findings indicate important psychological improvements resulting from PrEP initiation. Further research should explore the potential for other psychological benefits of PrEP use among GBM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2019.1572064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699935PMC
September 2020