Predicating HIV risk behaviour secondary to substance use

Mullens, Amy ORCID: and Young, Ross McD and Dunne, Michael P. and Debattista, Joe and Norton, Graham (2011) Predicating HIV risk behaviour secondary to substance use. In: Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs Conference 2011, 13-16 Nov 2011, Hobart, Tasmania.


Background: Strong associations exist between substance use and sexual risk-behaviours. However, less is known about why substance use is a risk factor for UAI (unprotected anal intercourse) for some gay/bisexual men and not others. It also remains unclear which drug types are more strongly associated with UAI. Beliefs about the effects of alcohol/drug use (‘expectancies’) and risk-taking personality traits have been hypothesised as key factors underlying both substance use and sexual risk-taking.

This research was conducted to better understand the relative contributions of: (i) drug and alcohol use; (ii) substance-related expectancies (utilising the SEP-MSM); and (iii) risk-taking personality traits on UAI across various drug types (alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, amyl). No known studies have examined the relative contributions of these factors to predict UAI across the range of substances commonly used among gay/bisexual men, using expectancy measures that have been specifically developed for men
who have sex with men (MSM).

Method: A cross-sectional design was used involving a community sample of gay and bisexual men (n = 277) throughout Australia, recruited through GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) media/networks. Participants completed online questionnaires regarding demographics, substance use, sexual activity (e.g. UAI),
substance-related expectances and risk-taking personality traits. Discriminant function analyses (DFA) were conducted to determine the predictive utility of the model tested across substance types, and to determine which factors most uniquely contributed to predicting UAI in conjunction with substance use.

Results: Models were predictive for alcohol and stimulants (not cannabis and amyl). Substance use and expectancies uniquely contributed to predicting UAI, while risk-taking personality traits did not. Significant models predicted 14–20% of the variance for UAI secondary to substance use; with a correct classification for UAI of 70%. Other modifiable risk factors (based on social cognitive theory)
are likely to further contribute to the predictive model (e.g. self-efficacy) and should be examined in future research.

Discussion: The current research fills an important niche to better substantiate hypotheses regarding the role of expectancies and substance use on risk-taking, and helps to better understand which drugs are associated with greater risk. The SEP-MSM showed significant utility in predicting UAI among MSM who may be at risk of sexual risk taking in conjunction with substance use patterns, particularly for alcohol and stimulant users. Future applications of
the SEP-MSM in health promotion, clinical settings and research are likely to contribute to reducing harm associated with substance use among MSM (e.g. HIV transmission). Individual and community level
interventions focussed on empowering MSM to engage in safer
sexual practices whilst under the influence, challenging commonly held beliefs about substance use, and improving self-esteem and assertiveness skills are also likely to be beneficial.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract only published.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 04:26
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 01:49
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520399 Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified

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