Following Lives Undergoing Change (Flux) study: Implementation and baseline prevalence of drug use in an online cohort study of gay and bisexual men in Australia

Hammoud, Mohamed and Jin, Fengyi and Degenhardt, Louisa and Lea, Toby and Maher, Lisa and Grierson, Jeffrey and Mackie, Brent and Pastorelli, Marcus and Batrouney, Colin and Bath, Nicky and Bradley, Jack and Prestage, Garrett P. (2017) Following Lives Undergoing Change (Flux) study: Implementation and baseline prevalence of drug use in an online cohort study of gay and bisexual men in Australia. International Journal of Drug Policy, 41. pp. 41-50. ISSN 0955-3959

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Background: Drug use among gay and bisexual men (GBM) is higher than most populations. The use of crystal methamphetamine, erectile dysfunction medication (EDM), and amyl nitrite have been associated with sexual risk behaviour and HIV infection among gay and bisexual men (GBM). Objective: This paper describes an online prospective observational study of licit and illicit drug use among GBM and explores baseline prevalence of drug use in this sample. Capturing these data poses challenges as participants are required to disclose potentially illegal behaviours in a geographically dispersed country. To address this issue, an entirely online and study specific methodology was chosen. Methods: Men living in Australia, aged 16.5 years of age or older, who identified as homosexual or bisexual or had sex with at least one man in the preceding 12 months were eligible to enrol. Results: Between September 2014 and July 2015, a total of 2250 participants completed the baseline questionnaire, of whom, 1710 (76.0%) consented to six-monthly follow-up. The majority (65.7%) were recruited through Facebook targeted advertising. At baseline, over half (50.5%) the men reported the use of any illicit drug in the previous six months, and 28.0% had used party drugs. In the six months prior to enrolment, 12.0% had used crystal methamphetamine, 21.8% had used EDM, and 32.1% had used amyl nitrite. Among the 1710 men enrolled into the cohort, 790 men had used none of these drugs. Conclusion: Ease of entry and minimal research burden on participants helped ensure successful recruitment into this online cohort study. Study outcomes will include the initiation and cessation of drug use, associated risk behaviours, and health consequences, over time. Results will provide insights into the role gay community plays in patterns of drug use among GBM.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: automated online methodology, cohort, drug use, drug prevalence, gay and bisexual men, online surveys
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Prof Jeffrey Grierson
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 09:02
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:59

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