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The impact of age, HIV serostatus and seroconversion on methamphetamine use.

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Characterizing methamphetamine use in relation to age, HIV serostatus and seroconversion is pertinent given the increasingly older age of the population with HIV and the intertwined epidemics of methamphetamine use and HIV.


Study aims were to investigate whether (i) methamphetamine use differs by age and HIV serostatus, and (ii) receiving an HIV diagnosis impacts methamphetamine use among younger and older persons with HIV.


This study examined methamphetamine use characteristics among 217 individuals with a lifetime methamphetamine dependence diagnosis who completed an in-person study assessment.


Multivariable regressions revealed that HIV serostatus uniquely attenuates methamphetamine use, such that persons with HIV report a smaller cumulative quantity (β = -0.16, p = 0.01) and a fewer number of days (β = -0.18, p = 0.004) of methamphetamine use than persons without HIV. Among the HIV+ sample, all participants persisted in methamphetamine use after receiving an HIV diagnosis, with about 20% initiating use after seroconversion. Repeated measures analysis of variance indicated that density of methamphetamine use (i.e. grams per day used) was greater among the younger, relative to the older, HIV+ group (p = 0.02), and increased for both age groups following seroconversion (p < 0.001).


These analyses indicate that although HIV serostatus may attenuate methamphetamine use behaviors, many people with HIV initiate, or persist in, methamphetamine use after receiving an HIV diagnosis. These findings raise the question of whether tailoring of prevention and intervention strategies might reduce the impact of methamphetamine and HIV across the age continuum.

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