Dr. Adam Carrico, associate professor at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, was the lead author on a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that tested the efficacy of positive affect intervention for boosting and extending the effectiveness of contingency management (CM) with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive, methamphetamine-using men who have sex with men. CM is an evidence-based intervention where individuals receive incentives when abstaining from stimulants.
“This trial was the first to observe that behavioral intervention can achieve durable and clinically meaningful reductions in HIV viral load among substance users,” Dr. Carrico noted.
From 2013 to 2017, 110 participants were recruited. Half of these participants were randomized to receive Affect Regulation Treatment to Enhance Methamphetamine Intervention Success (ARTEMIS), an individually-delivered, five-session positive affect intervention. ARTEMIS consisted of exercises such as gratitude journaling and mindfulness meditation practices that have been shown to increase positive affect. The other half received attention-control sessions that consisted of face-to-face administration of psychological measures and neutral writing exercises.
Those randomized to receive the ARTEMIS intervention were found to have lower HIV viral load at six, 12 and 15 months than those participating in the attention-control intervention. They were also found to have an unsuppressed HIV viral load over the 15 months, which is typically the period in time when HIV can be sexually transmitted to another person. Participants randomized to receive ARTEMIS also reported improvements in positive affect at six and 12 months.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 09