Developing a Text Messaging Risk Reduction Intervention for Methamphetamine-Using MSM: Research Note

Cathy J Reback*, 1, Deborah Ling1, Steven Shoptaw2, Jane Rohde3
1 Friends Research Institute, Inc., USA
2 Department of Family Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, USA
3 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy, USA

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© Reback et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Friends Research Institute, Inc., 1419 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA; Tel: 323-463-1601; Fax: 323-463-0126; E-mail:


Men who have sex with men (MSM) who use methamphetamine experience high risks for HIV infection due to sexual transmission behaviors often engaged in when under the influence of methamphetamine. Methamphetamine-using MSM use various forms of information technology (IT) communication such as instant messaging, social networking sites, and websites to facilitate a sexual and/or drug “hook up.” Given the acceptability of IT communication in their daily lives, an IT intervention represents an appropriate strategy to reach and intervene with out-of-treatment, methamphetamine-using MSM. The aim of this study was to conduct formative work to develop a text messaging intervention to reduce methamphetamine use and high-risk sexual behaviors among out-of-treatment MSM, which involved conducting focus groups, community partners’ meetings, and a pre-test intervention. These activities culminated in the development of a two-week, text-messaging intervention that delivered real-time electronic correspondence based on the behavioral change theories of Social Support Theory, Health Belief Model, and Social Cognitive Theory. The focus groups, community meetings, and pre-test were used to identify the IT communication device, the text messages that best support risk reduction and healthier behavioral choices, and logo, flyer and website development. The input and feedback from the target population and community partners were critical to the successful development of a culturally appropriate intervention. The knowledge gleaned from the formative work of this study will be vitally helpful in designing future IT studies.

Keywords: MSM, Methamphetamine, HIV, IT communication, Text messaging..