Optimizing PrEP and TasP adherence among substance using gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men

While increased access to HIV treatment and other health services has contributed to significant declines in HIV among several key populations in British Columbia (BC), it is estimated that as many as 1 in 6 gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

To address this health equity concern, BC recently expanded access to a once-a-day pill, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), that can prevent HIV acquisition. However, gbMSM who use drugs report reduced adherence to PrEP, as well as to other antiretroviral therapies (ART) that could prevent transmission—thus reducing the overall efficacy of these policy-driven interventions.

Recognizing the diverse experiences of substance-using gbMSM, Dr. Card, along with an interdisciplinary team at the Community Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health, will leverage data from the Sex Now Survey to improve our understanding of:

  1. Which patterns of substance use contribute to poor adherence.
  2. How we can best address the factors that negatively impact this population.
  3. What obstacles might limit successful intervention among this population (e.g., feasibility and acceptability).

Working with community members and front-line service providers, Dr. Card will also participate in community consultations to develop an empirically-valid and community-based intervention that will improve adherence among gbMSM who use drugs.