Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) adults face unique health disparities and addressing these disparities is a national health priority. Within this community, men who have sex with men (MSM) may be at elevated risk for alcohol and drug use as well as serious, yet preventable health conditions such as HIV and other STDs, viral hepatitis, pneumonia, and TB. Research suggests that addiction recovery residences are a promising mechanism to promote and sustain recovery from alcohol and drug use, however little is known about the experiences of LGBTIs in recovery residences and the role these residences may play in improving substance use and health outcomes.
A project headed by Scientist Amy Mericle, intends to address this knowledge gap by studying a group of recovery residences in Austin, Texas, including a home designated for MSM. In-person interviews will be conducted with the CEO and other staff to better understand the service delivery components of these homes and how the home for MSM residents may be unique. In addition to a focus group conducted with residents currently living in the MSM home, an additional 30 MSM residents will be recruited to complete a baseline and 3-month follow-up interview which will help researchers assess the feasibility of recruiting MSM residents and look at changes in substance use and related problems, HIV/AIDS risk behavior, health status, and service use. Lastly, to identify factors that may facilitate or inhibit opening and operating recovery residences for MSM and the larger LGBTI community, key-informant interviews will be conducted with recovery residence operators who are affiliated with the National Alliance of Recovery Residences (NARR), in densely populated urban areas across the US.
Recovery residences developed specifically for members of the LGBTI community may be a promising way to tailor recovery support and increase overall health among this population, but few exist and little is known about the programming of those that do. This research will establish the magnitude of the effects that recovery residences have on key health and service use outcomes among MSM, a critical first step to future trials of the effectiveness of recovery residences and services delivered in recovery residences to improve health outcomes among MSM. It is also anticipated that study findings will enhance the understanding of the role that recovery residences can play in improving outcomes for MSM and other segments of the LGBTI population in recovery.
This project is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), grant # R21 DA 039027.