Getting to Zero (GTZ) is an Illinois-based HIV elimination initiative. GTZ identifies younger Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) as a population who have experienced disproportionate HIV incidence. Rising stimulant use among YBMSM has been determined to impede engagement in the HIV prevention and treatment continua for reducing onward HIV transmission. Given the limited development of dedicated or culturally appropriate interventions for this population, this modeling study explores the impact of stimulant use on HIV incidence among YBMSM and assesses the impact of interventions to treat stimulant use on downstream HIV transmission to achieve GTZ goals.
A previously developed agent-based network model (ABNM), calibrated using data for YBMSM in Illinois, was extended to incorporate the impact of stimulant use (methamphetamines, crack/cocaine, and ecstasy) on sexual networks and engagement in HIV treatment and prevention continua. The model simulated the impact of a residential behavioral intervention (BI) for reducing stimulant use and an outpatient biomedical intervention (mirtazapine) for treating methamphetamine use. The downstream impact of these interventions on population-level HIV incidence was the primary intervention outcome.
Baseline simulated annual HIV incidence in the ABNM was 6.93 [95% Uncertainty Interval (UI): 6.83,7.04] per 100 person years (py) and 453 [95% UI: 445.9,461.2] new infections annually. A residential rehabilitation intervention targeted to 25% of stimulant using persons yielded a 27.1% reduction in the annual number of new infections. Initiating about 50% of methamphetamine using persons on mirtazapine reduced the overall HIV incidence among YBMSM by about 11.2%. A 30% increase in antiretroviral treatment (ART) and preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake in the non-stimulant using YBMSM population combined with a 25% uptake of BI for stimulant using persons produces an HIV incidence consistent with HIV elimination targets (about 200 infections/year) identified in the GTZ initiative.
Behavioral and biomedical interventions to treat stimulant use, in addition to expanding overall ART and PrEP uptake, are likely to enhance progress towards achieving GTZ goals.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.