Exposure to community violence and substance use among Black men who have sex with men: examining the role of psychological distress and criminal justice involvement.AIDS Care 2019; 31(3):370-378AC
Young Black MSM (YBMSM) are disproportionately affected by violence, criminal justice involvement, and other structural factors that also increase vulnerability to HIV. This study examined associations between exposure to community violence (ECV) and substance use, psychological distress, and criminal justice involvement (CJI) among YBMSM in Chicago, IL. Respondent driven sampling was used to recruit a sample of 618 YBMSM (aged 16-29) from the South Side of Chicago between June 2013 and July 2014. Weighted logistic regression assessed the direct effects of ECV, CJI, and psychological distress on substance use outcomes. Indirect effects were assessed via path analysis with mean and variance adjusted weighted least squares estimation and sampling weights. Over 90% reported lifetime exposure to violence, 41% had history of CJI, and substance use was common. Almost one-third reported daily or more frequent marijuana use; 17% reported substance use related problems and drug use other than marijuana. ECV was directly and positively associated with CJI, psychological distress, and problematic substance use, with significant indirect effects from ECV to problematic substance use via CJI and psychological distress. HIV prevention interventions for YBMSM should address the underlying contextual drivers of substance use and psychological distress, including violence exposure and criminal justice involvement.