Developed according to findings from a community provider assessment and conversations with Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) from across the United States, this guide establishes best practice guidelines for supporting Black and Latino MSM who PnP. As well, the intersectional lens included in this guide highlights the importance of recognizing how racism and homophobia might interact, creating contexts where internalized stigma might contribute to challenges related to building intimacy and/or power imbalances may be used to exploit Black and Latino MSM.
As mentioned, this blueprint guide was developed as a primary knowledge mobilization product from a research study exploring methamphetamine use among Black and Latino MSM who PnP. In particular, researchers gathered survey data from 182 health educators, medical assistants, social workers, program directors and clinicians from across 24 states, and in turn, used emerging themes from this data to inform focus group sessions with Black and Latino MSM who PnP from across the United States. The comprehensive findings from this multi-phase project are synthesized throughout the guide.
The guide opens with an overview, establishing the context for crystal use amongst MSM. Here, authors outline the various reasons for use, the times and places when use may be most common and the variety of pathways for administration. As well, authors outline an overarching theme of worries surrounding social risks rather than health risks, describing participants’ concerns regarding unpredictable situations, changes in looks and appearance and loss of control or stability. Next, the authors unpack findings regarding service provision, outlining emerging themes surrounding provider knowledge and best practices for validating care. Most significantly, Black and Latino MSM described that most providers are not asking about crystal use, and as a result more education is needed, especially regarding substance use on the intersection of race. As well, Black and Latino MSM emphasized the importance of providers recognizing that crystal use may intersect with mental health and/or survival sex and experiencing homelessness. Following this, the guide outlines tips and takeaways for providers, recommending that practitioners be intentional in asking about crystal use, practice validation and rapport building, avoid using stigmatizing language and build a solid network of referral sources to address the intersections of crystal use, mental health and sexual health.
Ultimately, this guide underscores the importance of implementing an intersectional lens when approaching PnP-related care, recognizing how race may intersect with sexual orientation to create contexts where Black and Latino MSM may experience exacerbated barriers to accessing care and support.
Check out the link below for an informative panel discussion on crystal use amongst Black and Latino MSM communities by the National Harm Reduction Coalition and the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM).
Melgarejo, T., Hawthorne, C., Frost, T., Robinson, Y. A., Currie, N., Stephens, C., Kornegay, J. (October, 2018). A Blueprint Guide to Supporting Black and Latino MSM Who Use Crystal Meth.