Associate Dean for Education
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. Danielle Ompad is an epidemiologist whose work is focused in the areas of urban health, HIV, illicit drug use, and adult access to vaccines. With respect to illicit drug use, her work has spanned the entire natural history of addiction – from initiation to cessation, with particular attention paid to risk for infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and STIs. She has primarily worked with people who use heroin, crack, cocaine, and/or club drugs.
In New York City, she has been examining heroin cessation among current, former, and relapsed heroin users. Working with Alliance for Public Health and the Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy, she analyzes harm reduction service utilization among people who inject drugs, in order to optimize service delivery in Ukraine. Since 2013, she has served as faculty for the Fogarty-funded New York State International Training and Research Program with the goal of building research capacity in Ukraine.
Dr. Ompad’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded study aims to determine if herpes simplex 1 and 2 infections explain racial disparities in HIV incidence among a cohort of young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YMSM). In addition, Dr. Ompad and colleagues are assessing HPV infection prevalence, persistence, and clearance among this same cohort.
BS, Biology, Bowie State University, Bowie, MDMHS, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MDPhD, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Excellence in Public Health Teaching Award, New York University (2014)Excellence in Public Health Teaching Award, New York University (2013)National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Scientific Development Travel Fellowship (2010)Delta Omega Honorary Society, Alpha Chapter (2002)
EpidemiologyHIV/AIDSInfectious DiseasesSocial Determinants of HealthSTIsSubstance AbuseVaccines
Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in the Dominican Republic: Perspectives of Focus Group Participants in the Santo Domingo AreaLiebermann, E. J., VanDevanter, N., Shirazian, T., Frías Gúzman, N., Niles, M., Healton, C., & Ompad, D.
Journal titleJournal of Transcultural Nursing
Page(s)121-127Introduction: Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the Dominican Republic, and high rates persist despite existing Pap smear screening programs. The purpose of this study was to explore Dominican women’s knowledge and attitudes regarding human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening practices, and perceived barriers and facilitators to early detection of cervical cancer. Method: Six focus groups (N = 64) were conducted in Spanish in urban, suburban, and rural locations, in private and public school settings, community and workplace settings, in or near Santo Domingo, as part of a larger study on barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English. Qualitative data analysis used inductive and deductive approaches. Results: Knowledge regarding HPV and cervical cancer varied across groups, but all agreed there was significant stigma and fear regarding HPV. Most women reported having Pap screening at least yearly. Follow-up of abnormal Pap testing was less consistent, with cost and uncertainty about provider recommendations identified as barriers. Discussion: Broader examination of provider-level and health system barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic is essential, in order to inform interventions to improve the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening and treatment programs and reduce preventable deaths.
Dominican Provider Attitudes Towards HPV Testing for Cervical Cancer Screening and, Current Challenges to Cervical Cancer Prevention in the Dominican Republic: a Mixed Methods StudyLiebermann, E., Van Devanter, N., Frías Gúzman, N., Hammer, M. J., & Ompad, D.
Journal titleJournal of Cancer EducationCreating effective programs for cervical cancer prevention is essential to avoid premature deaths from cervical cancer. The Dominican Republic has persistently high rates of cervical cancer, despite the availability of Pap smear screening. This study explored Dominican provider attitudes towards human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and current challenges to effective cervical cancer prevention. In this Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR)–driven mixed methods study, we conducted in-depth interviews (N = 21) and surveys (N = 202) with Dominican providers in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces regarding their perspectives on barriers to cervical cancer prevention and their knowledge and attitudes towards HPV testing as an alternative to Pap smear. Providers believed the main barrier to cervical cancer prevention was lack of cervical cancer awareness and resulting inadequate population screening coverage. Providers felt that Pap smear was widely available to women in the Dominican Republic and were unsure how a change to HPV testing for screening would address gaps in current cervical cancer screening programs. A subset of providers felt HPV testing offered important advantages for early detection of cervical cancer and were in favor of more widespread use. Cost of the HPV test and target age for screening with HPV testing were the main barriers to acceptability. Providers had limited knowledge of HPV testing as a screening test. The group was divided in terms of the potential impact of a change in screening test in addressing barriers to cervical cancer prevention in the Dominican Republic. Findings may inform interventions to disseminate global evidence-based recommendations for cervical cancer screening.
Dominican Provider Practices for Cervical Cancer Screening in Santo Domingo and Monte Plata ProvincesLiebermann, E., Hammer, M. J., Gúzman, N. F., Van Devanter, N., & Ompad, D.
Journal titleJournal of Cancer EducationCervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Pap smear screening in the Dominican Republic has not achieved adequate reduction in cervical cancer mortality. The purpose of this study was to examine Dominican provider practices for cervical cancer screening and the use of national or international screening guidelines. We surveyed 101 gynecology specialists, 50 non-specialists, and 51 obstetrics-gynecology residents in the Santo Domingo and Monte Plata provinces of the Dominican Republic regarding their cervical cancer screening practices and use of guidelines. Bivariate (chi-square) analyses were conducted to compare screening practices by demographic and practice characteristics. The majority of providers followed WHO guidelines (62.9%) and/or Dominican national norms (59.4%). The majority (87%) of providers use time since first sexual activity as the basis for screening initiation; 96% advise screening every 6–12 months. The most commonly used screening test is the conventional Pap smear. Colposcopy was recommended most often for all abnormal Pap results. Dominican providers report they follow national and/or international cervical cancer screening guidelines. They do not follow age-based screening guidelines, nor have they adopted an extended interval for screening and continue to recommend screening at least annually. A culture of early and frequent screening has consequences in terms of cost, high demand for follow-up services, and reduced capacity to reach the populations at highest risk. Early screening also may challenge the acceptability of adopting alternative screening technologies such as HPV testing.
Parent-Level Barriers and Facilitators to HPV Vaccine Implementation in Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicLiebermann, E., Devanter, N. V., Frías Gúzman, N., Ompad, D., Shirazian, T., & Healton, C.
Journal titleJournal of Community HealthCervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the Dominican Republic. Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) could reduce mortality from cervical cancer globally by as much as 90%. The purpose of our study was to explore multi-level barriers and facilitators to implementation of a national HPV vaccine program in the Dominican Republic; this article focuses on parent-level barriers and facilitators. In this qualitative study, we conducted six focus groups (N = 64) with parents of school-age children in the Santo Domingo area of the Dominican Republic, representing diverse socioeconomic groups and geographic settings. Thematic content analysis, using inductive and deductive approaches, was done following transcription and translation of audio-recordings from focus group discussions. Among this group of parents in the Santo Domingo area, facilitators to vaccine uptake were favorable attitudes towards vaccines in general and concern about cervical cancer as a health issue. Barriers found were low to moderate knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer, especially in the rural and suburban groups, and cost and lack of public awareness of the vaccine. This study identified key barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine implementation in the Dominican Republic. Health messaging, incorporating specialist providers as opinion leaders, will need to be tailored to broad audiences with varying levels of information and awareness, anticipating misinformation and concerns, and will need to emphasize HPV vaccine as a method to prevent cancer.
A New Generation of Drug Users in St. Petersburg, Russia? HIV, HCV, and Overdose Risks in a Mixed-Methods Pilot Study of Young Hard Drug UsersMeylakhs, P., Friedman, S. R., Meylakhs, A., Mateu-Gelabert, P., Ompad, D. C., Alieva, A., & Dmitrieva, A.
Journal titleAIDS and Behavior
Page(s)3350-3365Russia has a widespread injection drug use epidemic with high prevalence of HIV and HCV among people who inject drugs (PWID). We conducted a mixed methods study of young (age 18–26) hard drug users in St. Petersburg. Thirty-nine structured and 10 semi-structured interviews were conducted. No HIV cases and two HCV cases were detected among the PWID subsample (n = 29). Amphetamine and other stimulants were common (70%), opioid use was rare and episodic. Consistent condom use was 10%. No PWID reported syringe-sharing, 51% reported other drug paraphernalia sharing. Most (89%) never or rarely communicated with older (30 +) opiate users. A new cohort of drug users in St. Petersburg may have emerged, which is much safer in its injection practices compared to previous cohorts. However, risky sexual practices among this new cohort may expose them to the possibility of sexual transmission of HIV and widespread drug paraphernalia sharing to the HCV epidemic.
Construction trade and extraction workers: A population at high risk for drug use in the United States, 2005–2014Ompad, D. C., Gershon, R. R., Sandh, S., Acosta, P., & Palamar, J. J.
Journal titleDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume205Objective: To estimate prevalence of past-month marijuana, cocaine, and nonmedical prescription opioid (NPO) use and determine employment-related correlates of drug use among construction trade/extraction workers (CTEW). Methods: We analyzed ten years of data (2005–2014) from 293,492 adults (age≥18) in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, comparing CTEW and non-CTEW. Results: CTEW were 5.6% (n = 16,610) of the sample. Compared to non-CTEW, CTEW were significantly more likely to report past-month marijuana (12.3% vs. 7.5%), cocaine (1.8% vs. 0.8%), and/or NPO use (3.4% vs. 2.0%; Ps<.001). Among CTEW, past-week unemployment and working for >3 employers was associated with increased odds of marijuana and NPO use. Missing 1–2 days in the past month because the participant did not want to go into work was associated with increased odds for use of marijuana, cocaine, and NPO use. Missing 3–5 days of work in the past month because sick or injured was associated with double the odds (aOR = 2.00 [95% CI: 1.33–3.02]) of using NPO. Having written drug policies was associated with reduced odds for cocaine use, and workplace tests for drug use during hiring and random drug testing were also associated with lower odds of marijuana use. Conclusions: CTEW are a high-risk population for drug use. Precarious employment is associated with higher prevalence of drug use while some workplace drug policies were associated with lower prevalence. Coupled with reports of high overdose mortality among CTEW, these findings suggest that prevention and harm reduction programming is needed to prevent drug-related morbidity and mortality among CTEW.
Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Infection in Young Sexual Minority Men: The P18 Cohort StudyHalkitis, P. N., Valera, P., Loschiavo, C. E., Goldstone, S. E., Kanztanou, M., Maiolatesi, A. J., Ompad, D. C., Greene, R. E., & Kapadia, F.
Journal titleAIDS patient care and STDs
Page(s)149-156We examined the prevalence of infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV in a cohort of young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men [sexual minority men (SMM)]. HPV vaccination uptake was assessed; HIV antibody testing was performed and genetic testing for oral and anal HPV infection was undertaken. We examined both HPV vaccination and infection in relation to key demographic and structural variables. Participants (n = 486) were on average 23 years old; 70% identified as a member of a racial/ethnic minority group, and 7% identified as transgender females. Only 18.1% of the participants indicated having received the full dosage of HPV vaccination and 45.1% were unvaccinated. Slightly over half the participants (58.6%) were infected with HPV, with 58.1% testing positive for anal infection and 8.8% for oral infection. HIV seropositivity was associated with infection to oral HPV [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 4.03] and vaccine-preventable HPV, whereas both neighborhood-level poverty (AOR = 1.68) and HIV infection (AOR = 31.13) were associated with anal infection to HPV (AOR = 1.68). Prevalence of HPV infection is high among unvaccinated young SMM, despite the availability and eligibility for vaccination. HPV infection adds further health burden to these populations and is particularly concerning for those who are HIV positive as HIV infection increases the risk of developing HPV-related cancers. These findings underscore a missed prevention opportunity for an at-risk and underserved population and suggest the need for active strategies to increase HPV vaccination uptake in young SMM before the onset of sexual behavior.
On the way to Hepatitis C elimination in the Republic of Georgia—Barriers and facilitators for people who inject drugs for engaging in the treatment program: A formative qualitative studyChikovani, I., Ompad, D. C., Uchaneishvili, M., Sulaberidze, L., Sikharulidze, K., Hagan, H., & Van Devanter, N. L.
Journal titlePloS one
Issue4Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant public health concern worldwide. Georgia is among the countries with a high burden of HCV infection. People who inject drugs (PWID) have the highest burden of infection in Georgia. In 2015, the Government of Georgia, with partners’ support, initiated one of the world’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Programs. Despite notable progress, challenges to achieving targets persist. This qualitative study is aimed to better understand some of the barriers and facilitators to HCV testing and treatment services for PWID to inform HCV treatment policies and practices. The study instrument examined social, structural, and individual factors influencing HCV testing and treatment practices. We started with key informant interviews to guide the study instrument development and compare the study findings against health care planners’ and health care providers’ views. Forty PWID with various HCV testing and treatment experiences were recruited through the snowball method. The study found that along with structural factors such as political commitment, co-financing of diagnostic and monitoring tests, and friendly clinic environments, knowledge about HCV infection and elimination program benefits, and support from family and peers also play facilitating roles in accessing testing and treatment services. On the other hand, inability to co-pay for diagnostic tests, fear of side effects associated with treatment, poor knowledge about HCV infection, and lack of social support hampered testing and treatment practices among PWID. Findings from this study are important for increasing the effectiveness of this unique program that targets a population at high risk of HCV infection.
Substance Use Among Older People Living with HIV: Issues for Nurses and Other Health Care ProvidersDeren, S., Cortes, T., Vaughan Dickson, V., Guilamo-Ramos, V., Han, B. H., Karpiak, S., Naegle, M., Ompad, D., & Wu, B.
Journal titleFrontiers in Public Health
A comparison of self-reported sexual effects of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy in a sample of young adult nightlife attendeesPalamar, J. J., Griffin-Tomas, M., Acosta, P., Ompad, D. C., & Cleland, C. M.
Journal titlePsychology and Sexuality
Page(s)54-68Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [MDMA], ‘Molly’) are among the most prevalent substances used by young adults; however, few studies have focused on the specific sexual effects associated with use. Examining subjective sexual effects (e.g. increased libido) associated with use can inform prevention efforts. Data were analysed from 679 nightclub and dance festival attendees in New York City (ages 18–25) to examine and compare self-reported sexual effects associated with use of alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy. Results suggest that compared to marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy were more strongly associated with heightened perceived sexual effects (i.e. perceived sexual attractiveness of self and others, sexual desire, length of intercourse, and sexual outgoingness). Increased body and sex organ sensitivity and increased sexual intensity were most commonly associated with ecstasy use. Sexual dysfunction was most common while using alcohol or ecstasy, especially among males, and females were more likely to report sexual dysfunction after using marijuana. Post-sex regret was most common with alcohol use. Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy each have different sexual effects; therefore, each is associated with different risks and benefits for users. Findings can inform prevention and harm reduction as young adults are prone to use these substances.
A Qualitative Investigation Comparing Psychosocial and Physical Sexual Experiences Related to Alcohol and Marijuana Use among AdultsPalamar, J. J., Acosta, P., Ompad, D. C., & Friedman, S. R.
Journal titleArchives of Sexual Behavior
Page(s)757-770Alcohol and marijuana are two of the most prevalent psychoactive substances and each may result in distinct psychosocial and physical sexual experiences and different sexual risk behaviors. With marijuana becoming more accepted in the US along with more liberal state-level policies, it is important to examine and compare users’ psychosocial and physical sexual experiences and sexual risk behavior associated with these drugs. In this study, we interviewed 24 adults who recently used marijuana before sex. Participants were 50 % female and all self-identified as heterosexual and HIV-negative. Using thematic analysis, we compared self-reported psychosocial and physical sexual experiences of alcohol and marijuana. Participants described differences between drugs with regard to psychosocial (e.g., partner interactions and contexts before sex, partner choice, perceived attractiveness of self and others, disinhibition, and feelings of regret after sex) and physical sexual experiences (e.g., sexual dysfunction, dose effects, sensations of body/sex organs, length and intensity of sex, and orgasm). Alcohol use was commonly associated with social outgoingness and use facilitated connections with potential sexual partners; however, alcohol was more likely than marijuana to lead to atypical partner choice or post-sex regret. Both alcohol and marijuana had a variety of negative sexual effects, and the illegality of marijuana reportedly facilitated intimate encounters. While sexual experiences tended to be similar across males and females, we did find some variation by gender. Results can inform prevention and harm reduction programming that will allow us to design more realistic programs and to craft interventions, which guide potential users to make safer choices.
Reliability and Validity of a Material Resources Scale and Its Association With Depression Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men: The P18 Cohort StudyOmpad, D. C., Palamar, J. J., Krause, K. D., Kapadia, F., & Halkitis, P. N.
Journal titleAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Page(s)1384-1397Socioeconomic status (SES) is a fundamental cause of ill health, but an understudied determinant of health for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Surprisingly, few studies have examined the relations between poverty and depression among young MSM. The aims of this study were to determine the reliability and validity of an 18-item Family Resource Scale (FRS) as a measure of SES among YMSM and examine the relations between SES and depression, while taking into account factors associated with resilience or risk for poor mental health. Reliability of the SES scale was determined with Cronbach’s alpha. Validity was assessed with factor analysis and bivariable comparisons with other SES measures. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine the relations between depressive symptomology (via the Beck Depression Inventory–II), SES, and gay-related psychosocial variables. In this racially/ethnically diverse sample (mean age = 21.8 years, 37.3% Hispanic/Latino, 30.5% White, 14.9% Black, and 17.0% other race/ethnicity), 70.8% reported incomes ≤ $10,000 and the mean FRS score was 4.1 (SD = 0.9, range 0-5). The FRS demonstrated reliability (α =.91) and criterion and construct validity. The Beck Depression Inventory–II rated 17.6% with depressive symptomology. Higher FRS scores were associated with a lower odds of depression (adjusted odds ratio = 0.58; 95% confidence interval = 0.46-0.74) in logistic regression models controlling for gay community affinity and internalized homophobia. This diverse sample of YMSM in New York City reported substantial financial hardship and those who were more gay-identified had fewer material resources. Fewer material resources and internalized homophobia were both associated with higher odds of depression.
Associations Among Neighborhood Characteristics and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Black and White MSM Living in a Major Urban AreaFrye, V., Nandi, V., Egan, J. E., Cerda, M., Rundle, A., Quinn, J. W., Sheehan, D., Ompad, D. C., Van Tieu, H., Greene, E., & Koblin, B.
Journal titleAIDS and Behavior
Page(s)870-890Identifying neighborhood characteristics associated with sexual HIV risk behavior among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) living in urban areas may inform the development of policies and programs to reduce risk and subsequently HIV prevalence in urban areas. New York City M2M was a cross-sectional study designed to identify neighborhood-level characteristics associated with sexual risk behaviors among MSM living in New York City. This paper presents results of an analysis of neighborhood-level indicators of three distinct social theories of influence of the neighborhood environment on human behavior: physical disorder, social disorganization and social norms theories. Using multilevel modeling on a sample of 766 MSM stratified by race/ethnicity, we found little support for the role of social disorganization on the sexual risk behavior of MSM, whereas different indicators of physical disorder exerted negative effects across race groups. Our results suggest that the beneficial effects of housing stock maintenance and general neighborhood physical orderliness and cleanliness may have positive effects beyond those traditionally studied for African American MSM and that the field needs novel theorizing regarding whether and how neighborhood or virtual community-level factors relate to sexual behavior among MSM.
Congruence of Home, Social and Sex Neighborhoods among Men Who Have Sex with Men, NYCM2M StudyKoblin, B. A., Egan, J. E., Nandi, V., Sang, J. M., Cerdá, M., Tieu, H. V., Ompad, D. C., Hoover, D. R., & Frye, V.
Journal titleJournal of Urban Health
Page(s)364-374Substantial literature demonstrates the influence of the neighborhood environment on health behaviors and outcomes. But limited research examines on how gay and bisexual men experience and exist in various geographic and virtual spaces and how this relates to their sexual behavior. New York City Men 2 Men (NYCM2M) was a cross-sectional study designed to identify neighborhood-level characteristics within the urban environment that influence sexual risk behaviors, substance use, and depression among men who have sex with men (MSM) living in NYC. The sample was recruited using a modified venue-based time-space sampling methodology and through select websites and mobile applications. Whether key neighborhoods of human activity, where a participant resided (termed home), socialized (termed social), or had sex most often (termed sex), were the same or different was evaluated. “Congruence” (or the sameness) of home, social, and most often sex neighborhood was reported by 17 % of men, while 30 % reported that none of their neighborhoods were the same. The largest group of men (39 %) reported that their home and sex neighborhoods were the same but their social neighborhood was different while 10 % reported that their home neighborhood was different than their social and sex neighborhood; 5 % men reported same home and social neighborhoods with a different sex neighborhood. Complete neighborhood incongruence was highest among men who were Black and/or Latino, had lower education and personal income levels, and had greater financial insecurity. In adjusted analysis, serodiscordant condomless anal intercourse and condomless anal intercourse with partners from the Internet or mobile applications were significantly associated with having the same social and sex (but not home) neighborhoods. Understanding the complexity of how different spaces and places relate to the health and sexual behavior of MSM is essential for focusing interventions to best reach various populations of interest.
Continuing Links Between Substance Use and HIV Highlight the Importance of Nursing RolesDeren, S., Naegle, M., Hagan, H., & Ompad, D. C.
Journal titleJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Page(s)622-632Links between HIV and substance use were identified early in the U.S. HIV epidemic. People who use drugs are at risk of HIV infection through shared injection equipment and risky sexual behaviors. In addition, substance use has negative health consequences for people living with HIV. The prescription opioid misuse epidemic, linked to injection drug use, hepatitis C infection, and HIV, poses a new threat to declining HIV rates. We reviewed evidence-based interventions that decrease HIV risk in people who use drugs (needle/syringe programs, medication-assisted treatment, engagement in HIV care, and preexposure prophylaxis/postexposure prophylaxis). The critical roles of nurses in HIV prevention/care for this population are described, including applying the principles of harm reduction, screening for substance use, and undertaking implementation and research efforts. As the nation's largest health care profession, nurses are positioned to contribute to the quality of HIV-related prevention/care for people who use drugs and to lead practice initiatives.
Neighborhood determinants of mood and anxiety disorders among men who have sex with men in New York CityCerdá, M., Nandi, V., Frye, V., Egan, J. E., Rundle, A., Quinn, J. W., Sheehan, D., Hoover, D. R., Ompad, D. C., Van Tieu, H., Greene, E., & Koblin, B.
Journal titleSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Page(s)749-760Purpose: We examined the relationship between economic, physical, and social characteristics of neighborhoods, where men who have sex with men (MSM) lived and socialized, and symptom scores of depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Methods: Participants came from a cross-sectional study of a population-based sample of New York City MSM recruited in 2010–2012 (n = 1126). Archival and survey-based data were obtained on neighborhoods, where the men lived and where they socialized most often. Results: MSM who socialized in neighborhoods with more economic deprivation and greater general neighborhood attachment experienced higher GAD symptoms. The relationship between general attachment to neighborhoods where MSM socialized and mental health depended on the level of gay community attachment: in neighborhoods characterized by greater gay community attachment, general neighborhood attachment was negatively associated with GAD symptoms, while in low gay community attachment neighborhoods, general neighborhood attachment had a positive association with GAD symptoms. Conclusions: This study illustrates the downsides of having deep ties to social neighborhoods when they occur in the absence of broader access to ties with the community of one’s sexual identity. Interventions that help MSM cross the spatial boundaries of their social neighborhoods and promote integration of MSM into the broader gay community may contribute to the reduction of elevated rates of depression and anxiety in this population.
Patterns of harm reduction service utilization and HIV incidence among people who inject drugs in Ukraine: A two-part latent profile analysisOmpad, D. C., Wang, J., Dumchev, K., Barska, J., Samko, M., Zeziulin, O., Saliuk, T., Varetska, O., & DeHovitz, J.
Journal titleInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Page(s)7-15Background Program utilization patterns are described within a large network of harm reduction service providers in Ukraine. The relationship between utilization patterns and HIV incidence is determined among people who inject drugs (PWID) controlling for oblast-level HIV incidence and treatment/syringe coverage. Methods Data were extracted from the network's monitoring and evaluation database (January 2011–September 2014, n = 327,758 clients). Latent profile analysis was used to determine harm reduction utilization patterns using the number of HIV tests received annually and the number of condoms, syringes, and services (i.e., information and counseling sessions) received monthly over a year. Cox proportional hazards regression determined the relations between HIV seroconversion and utilization class membership. Results In the final 4-class model, class 1 (34.0% of clients) received 0.1 HIV tests, 1.3 syringes, 0.6 condom and minimal counseling and information sessions per month; class 2 (33.6%) received 8.6 syringes, 3.2 condoms, and 0.5 HIV tests and counseling and information sessions; class 3 (19.1%) received 1 HIV test, 11.9 syringes, 4.3 condoms, and 0.7 information and counseling sessions; class 4 (13.3%) received 1 HIV test, 26.1 syringes, 10.3 condoms, and 1.8 information and 1.9 counseling sessions. Class 4 clients had significantly decreased risk for HIV seroconversion as compared to those in class 1 after controlling for oblast-level characteristics. Conclusion Injection drug use continues to be a major mode of HIV transmission in Ukraine, making evaluation of harm reduction efforts in reducing HIV incidence among PWID critical. These analyses suggest that receiving more syringes and condoms decreased risk of HIV. Scaling up HIV testing and harm reduction services is warranted.
Self-Reported Ecstasy/MDMA/“Molly” Use in a Sample of Nightclub and Dance Festival Attendees in New York CityPalamar, J. J., Acosta, P., Ompad, D. C., & Cleland, C. M.
Journal titleSubstance Use and Misuse
Page(s)82-91Background: Ecstasy (MDMA) use has regained popularity in the United States, particularly in the form of “Molly,” which is often marketed as pure MDMA. Surveys have generally not included “Molly” in the definition of ecstasy, so rates of use may be underestimated. As popularity of ecstasy increases, research is needed to examine use among those at highest risk for use—nightlife attendees. Methods: We surveyed 679 young adults (age 18–25) entering nightclubs and festivals holding electronic dance music (EDM) parties in New York City in 2015. A variation of time-space sampling was utilized. We examined prevalence and correlates of self-reported lifetime ecstasy use. Results: Self-reported lifetime ecstasy use was common (42.8%, 95% CI: 32.8, 52.7). Use was most common among older participants, frequent party attendees, and those reporting higher levels of exposure to users. Those surveyed outside of festivals were less likely to report use compared to those surveyed outside of nightclubs (AOR = 0.37, p =.015). Over a third of ecstasy users (36.8%)reported use in pill, powder, and crystal form. Ecstasy users were also more likely to report use of other drugs, including novel psychoactive substances (e.g., 2C series drugs, synthetic cathinones [“bath salts”]). Half (50.4%) reported suspecting (21.9%) or finding out (28.5%) that their ecstasy had ever contained a drug other than MDMA. Conclusion: A large percentage of nightlife attendees in NYC report lifetime ecstasy use. Findings should inform prevention and harm reduction programming. Further research is needed as ecstasy continues to change (e.g., in form, purity, and name).
Substance Use and Cognitive Function as Drivers of Condomless Anal Sex among HIV-Positive Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men Aged 50 and Older: The Gold StudiesKupprat, S. A., Krause, K. D., Ompad, D. C., & Halkitis, P. N.
Journal titleLGBT health
Page(s)434-441Purpose: Substance use has been linked to the sexual transmission of HIV among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) across the lifespan. Among older, HIV-positive, MSM populations, cognitive dysfunction associated with age and HIV disease progression also may play a role in sexual risk-taking. People aged 50 years and older represent a growing proportion of the overall HIV-positive population. This study aimed to explore relationships between substance use and cognitive function, and their impact on condomless anal sex (CAS) among HIV-positive gay, bisexual, and other MSM aged 50 years and older. Methods: Data from a cross-sectional study of HIV-positive MSM, aged 50 and older (N = 169) were gathered using a computer-assisted survey, researcher-administered behavioral and neurocognitive measures. Results: More than 50% of the men used substances and had one or more cognitive impairments. However, only 25% were at higher risk for dementia (i.e., two or more cognitive impairments). Multivariable modeling indicated that use of alcohol to intoxication and date of HIV diagnosis were the strongest predictors of CAS in both a model that included dementia risk and a model that included impaired executive function risk. Current illicit substance use was a significant predictor of CAS only in the model that included dementia risk. Those with better cognitive and executive function had higher odds of CAS. However, only executive function was a significant cognitive predictor of CAS. Conclusion: Further research is needed to clarify the impact of cognitive function and substance use on sexual risk behaviors as these HIV-positive men achieve normal life expectancies, while continuing to use substances and engage in CAS. Furthermore, addiction treatment remains a critical need for this group even as they transition into later adulthood.
Trends in Injection Risk Behaviors among People Who Inject Drugs and the Impact of Harm Reduction Programs in Ukraine, 2007–2013Makarenko, I., Ompad, D. C., Sazonova, Y., Saliuk, T., DeHovitz, J., & Gensburg, L.
Journal titleJournal of Urban Health
Page(s)104-114The study examined trends in injection risk behaviors among people who inject drugs (PWIDs) and assessed the impact of harm reduction programs in Ukraine during 2007–2013. We performed a secondary analysis of the data collected in serial cross-sectional bio-behavioral surveillance surveys administered with PWIDs in Ukraine in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013. Using data from 14 Ukrainian cities, we assessed short-term trends in injection risk behaviors with the Cochran-Armitage test for trend and multivariable logistic regression models, adjusted for age, sex, region, marital status, education level, occupation, age at injection drug use initiation, experience of overdose, and self-reported HIV status. The overall test for trend indicated a statistically significant decrease over time for sharing needle/syringe during the last injection (p < 0.0001), sharing needle/syringe at least once in the last 30 days (p < 0.0001), and using a common container for drug preparation (p < 0.0001). The prevalence of injecting drugs from pre-loaded syringes was high (61.0%) and did not change over the study period. After adjusting for all significant confounders and comparing to 2007, the prevalence of sharing needle/syringe during the last injection was unchanged in 2008 (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 0.92, 1.21), and declined in 2011 (OR = 0.18, 95% CI = 0.15, 0.22) and 2013 (OR = 0.17, 95% CI = 0.14, 0.21). Sharing needles/syringes in the last 30 days significantly decreased when compared to that in 2007 (2008: OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.74, 0.89; 2011: OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.38, 0.47; and 2013: OR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.27, 0.35). The prevalence of using common instruments for drug preparation also decreased compared to that in 2007 (2008: OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.85, 0.91; 2011: OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.85, 0.90; and 2013: OR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.71, 0.76). The observed reduction in the prevalence of injection risk behavior over time is encouraging. Our findings suggest that prevention programs in Ukraine have positive impact and provide support for governmental expansion of these programs.
Beyond METs: Types of physical activity and depression among older adultsJoshi, S., Mooney, S. J., Kennedy, G. J., Benjamin, E. O., Ompad, D., Rundle, A. G., Beard, J. R., & Cerdá, M.
Journal titleAge and Ageing
Page(s)103-109Background/Objectives: physical activity may be beneficial in reducing depression incidence among the elderly. A key unanswered question is whether certain types of physical activity are particularly associated with decreased depression incidence. We examined the relationship between quantity and type of physical activity and subsequent depression using longitudinal data from elderly adults in New York City (NYC). Methods: we followed 3,497 adults aged 65-75 living in NYC for three years. Total physical activity was measured using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) and type of physical activity was measured using a latent class analysis of PASE item responses. We used generalised estimating equations to measure the relationship between quantity and latent class of physical activity at waves 1-2 and depression at waves 2-3, controlling for wave-1 depression. Results: individuals in the second highest quartile (50-75%) (odds ratio (OR) = 0.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.23, 0.88) and highest quartile of activity (OR = 0.31; 95% CI = 0.16, 0.63) had lower odds of depression. Among all subjects, athletic types (OR = 0.25; 95% CI = 0.12, 0.51) and walker types (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.99) had lower odds of depression. Among non-disabled participants, walkers (OR = 0.36; 95% CI = 0.18, 0.73), athletic types (OR = 0.14; 95% CI = 0.06, 0.32), domestic/gardening types (OR = 0.29; 95% CI = 0.12, 0.73) and domestic/gardening athletic types (OR = 0.13; 95% CI = 0.02, 0.75) had lower odds of depression. Conclusion: respondents who practised the highest levels of physical activity and who performed athletic activities were at lower risk for depression. Interventions aimed at promoting athletic physical activity among older adults may generate benefits for mental health.
Disparities within the disparity - Determining HIV risk factors among latino gay and bisexual men attending a community-based clinic in Los Angeles, CABeymer, M. R., Weiss, R. E., Halkitis, P. N., Kapadia, F., Ompad, D. C., Bourque, L., & Bolan, R. K.
Journal titleJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Page(s)237-244Background: Latino gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States have a 50% greater incidence of HIV when compared with White MSM. Previous studies have analyzed factors contributing to condomless anal intercourse among Latino MSM, but few studies have followed cohorts of HIV-negative Latino MSM to determine circumstances for HIV infection. Informed by Syndemics theory, we examine behavioral, biological, and contextual factors associated with HIV infection for Latino MSM. Methods: Risk assessment and HIV testing data were analyzed for all initially HIV negative, Latino MSM (n = 3111) visiting a community-based clinic in Los Angeles, CA from January 2009 to June 2014. Survival analyses were used to determine characteristics of Latino MSM who became HIV positive during the study time frame. Results: Similar to previous studies of MSM, self-reported history of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and/or syphilis (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 1.97; CI: 1.28 to 3.04), receptive condomless anal intercourse (aHR: 1.7; CI: 1.16 to 2.49), and methamphetamine use (aHR: 1.99; CI: 1.15 to 3.43) predicted HIV infection. In addition, originating from Central America (aHR: 2.31; CI: 1.41 to 3.79), Latino ethnicity of the last sex partner (aHR: 1.67; CI: 1.16 to 2.39) and experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) (aHR: 1.73; CI: 1.13 to 2.64) were also associated with HIV infection among Latino MSM. Conclusions: This is the first study to show independent associations between IPV and HIV infection among Latino MSM. This study shows that psychosocial conditions such as IPV fuel HIV incidence among Latino MSM, and psychosocial interventions should be considered to reduce HIV disparities among Latino MSM.
Do Sexual Networks of Men Who Have Sex with Men in New York City Differ by Race/Ethnicity?Tieu, H. V., Nandi, V., Hoover, D. R., Lucy, D., Stewart, K., Frye, V., Cerda, M., Ompad, D., Latkin, C., & Koblin, B. A.
Journal titleAIDS patient care and STDs
Page(s)39-47The United States HIV epidemic disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM). This disparity might be partially explained by differences in social and sexual network structure and composition. A total of 1267 MSM in New York City completed an ACASI survey and egocentric social and sexual network inventory about their sex partners in the past 3 months, and underwent HIV testing. Social and sexual network structure and composition were compared by race/ethnicity of the egos: black, non-Hispanic (N = 365 egos), white, non-Hispanic (N = 466), and Hispanic (N = 436). 21.1% were HIV-positive by HIV testing; 17.2% reported serodiscordant and serostatus unknown unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse (SDUI) in the last 3 months. Black MSM were more likely than white and Hispanic MSM to report exclusively having partners of same race/ethnicity. Black and Hispanic MSM had more HIV-positive and unknown status partners than white MSM. White men were more likely to report overlap of social and sex partners than black and Hispanic men. No significant differences by race/ethnicity were found for network size, density, having concurrent partners, or having partners with ≥10 years age difference. Specific network composition characteristics may explain racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection rates among MSM, including HIV status of sex partners in networks and lack of social support within sexual networks. Network structural characteristics such as size and density do not appear to have such an impact. These data add to our understanding of the complexity of social factors affecting black MSM and Hispanic MSM in the U.S.
Drug use among HIV+ adults aged 50 and older: findings from the GOLD II studyOmpad, D. C., Giobazolia, T. T., Barton, S. C., Halkitis, S. N., Boone, C. A., Halkitis, P. N., Kapadia, F., & Urbina, A.
Journal titleAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Page(s)1373-1377Understanding the nexus of aging, HIV, and substance use is key to providing appropriate services and support for their aging, HIV seropositive patients. The proportion of PLWHA aged 50 and older is growing due to a variety of factors like decreases in mortality due to highly active retroviral therapy and non-negligible HIV incidence. We describe prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and participation in substance use treatment and 12-step programs among 95 HIV-positive patients aged 50 and older engaged in care. Most (73.7%) smoked cigarettes in their lifetime and 46.3% were current smokers. Most were at medium (81.1%) or high risk (13.7%) for an alcohol use disorder. With respect to illicit drug use, 48.4% had used marijuana, cocaine, crack, methamphetamines, heroin, and/or prescription opiates without a prescription in the last 12 months; 23.2% met criteria for drug dependence. Marijuana was the most commonly reported illicit drug (32.6%) followed by cocaine and crack (10.5% each), heroin and prescription opiates (7.4% each), and methamphetamines (6.3%). Among those who had not used drugs in the past 12 months, 36.7% had been in a substance use treatment program and 26.5% had participated in a 12-step program in their lifetime; 8.2% were currently in treatment and 16.3% were currently participating in a 12-step program. Among those who had used an illicit drug in the past 12 months, 37.0% had never been in treatment, 34.8% had been in treatment in their lifetime, and 28.3% were currently in treatment. With respect to 12-step programs, 27.3% of those meeting dependence criteria had never participated, 45.5% had participated in their lifetimes, and 27.3% were currently participating. Our findings suggest that older adults in HIV care settings could benefit from Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment interventions and/or integrated services for substance abuse and medical treatment.
Early Life Psychosocial Stressors and Housing Instability among Young Sexual Minority Men: the P18 Cohort StudyKrause, K. D., Kapadia, F., Ompad, D. C., D’Avanzo, P. A., Duncan, D. T., & Halkitis, P. N.
Journal titleJournal of Urban Health
Page(s)511-525Homelessness and housing instability is a significant public health problem among young sexual minority men. While there is a growing body of literature on correlates of homelessness among sexual minority men, there is a lack of literature parsing the different facets of housing instability. The present study examines factors associated with both living and sleeping in unstable housing among n = 600 sexual minority men (ages 18–19). Multivariate models were constructed to examine the extent to which sociodemographic, interpersonal, and behavioral factors as well as adverse childhood experiences explain housing instability. Overall, 13 % of participants reported sleeping in unstable housing and 18 % had lived in unstable housing at some point in the 6 months preceding the assessment. The odds of currently sleeping in unstable housing were greater among those who experienced more frequent lack of basic needs (food, proper hygiene, clothing) during their childhoods. More frequent experiences of childhood physical abuse and a history of arrest were associated with currently living in unstable housing. Current enrollment in school was a protective factor with both living and sleeping in unstable housing. These findings indicate that being unstably housed can be rooted in early life experiences and suggest a point of intervention that may prevent unstable housing among sexual minority men.