Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Los Angeles (2018)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University (2011)

All Publications

  • Steep increases in fentanyl-related mortality west of the Mississippi River: Recent evidence from county and state surveillance. Drug and alcohol dependence Shover, C. L., Falasinnu, T. O., Dwyer, C. L., Santos, N. B., Cunningham, N. J., Freedman, R. B., Vest, N. A., Humphreys, K. 2020; 216: 108314


    BACKGROUND: Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (e.g., fentanyl) increased 10-fold in the United States from 2013 to 2018, despite such opioids being rare in illicit drug markets west of the Mississippi River. Public health professionals have feared a "fentanyl breakthrough" in western U.S. drug markets could further accelerate overdose mortality. We evaluated the number and nature of western U.S. fentanyl deaths using the most recent data available.METHODS: We systematically searched jurisdictions west of the Mississippi River for publicly available data on fentanyl-related deaths since 2018, the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics. Using mortality data from 2019 and 2020, we identified changes in fentanyl-related mortality rate and proportion of fatal heroin-, stimulant, and prescription pill overdoses involving fentanyl.RESULTS: Seven jurisdictions had publicly available fentanyl death data through December 2019 or later: Arizona; California; Denver County, CO; Harris County, TX; King County, WA; Los Angeles County, CA; and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (Denton, Johnson, Parker, and Tarrant counties). All reported increased fentanyl deaths over the study period. Their collective contribution to national synthetic narcotics mortality increased 371 % from 2017 to 2019. Available 2020 data shows a 63 % growth in fentanyl-mortality over 2019. Fentanyl-involvement in heroin, stimulant, and prescription pill deaths has substantially grown.DISCUSSION: Fentanyl has spread westward, increasing deaths in the short-term and threatening to dramatically worsen the nation's already severe opioid epidemic in the long-term. Increasing the standard dose of naloxone, expanding Medicaid, improving coverage of addiction treatment, and public health educational campaigns should be prioritized.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108314

    View details for PubMedID 33038637

  • Association of State Policies Allowing Medical Cannabis for Opioid Use Disorder With Dispensary Marketing for This Indication. JAMA network open Shover, C. L., Vest, N. A., Chen, D., Stueber, A., Falasinnu, T. O., Hah, J. M., Kim, J., Mackey, I., Weber, K. A., Ziadni, M., Humphreys, K. 2020; 3 (7): e2010001


    Importance: Misinformation about cannabis and opioid use disorder (OUD) may increase morbidity and mortality if it leads individuals with OUD to forego evidence-based treatment. It has not been systematically evaluated whether officially designating OUD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis is associated with cannabis dispensaries suggesting cannabis as a treatment for OUD.Objective: To examine whether state-level policies designating OUD a qualifying condition for medical cannabis are associated with more dispensaries claiming cannabis can treat OUD.Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional, mixed-methods study of 208 medical dispensary brands was conducted in 2019 using the brands' online content. The study included dispensaries operating in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, where OUD is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, and in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia, where this policy does not exist.Exposures: Presence of OUD on the list of qualifying conditions for a state's medical cannabis program.Main Outcomes and Measures: Binary indicators of whether online content from the brand said cannabis can treat OUD, can replace US Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for OUD, can be an adjunctive therapy to Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for OUD, or can be used as a substitute for opioids to treat other conditions (eg, chronic pain).Results: After excluding duplicates, listings for nonexistent dispensaries, and those without online content, 167 brands across 7 states were included in the analysis (44 [26.3%] in states where OUD was a qualifying condition and 123 [73.7%] in adjacent states). A dispensary listed in a directory for West Virginia was not operational; therefore, comparison states were Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio. In policy-exposed states, 39% (95% CI, 23%-55%) more dispensaries claimed cannabis could treat OUD compared with unexposed states (P<.001). For replacing medications for OUD and being an adjunctive therapy, the differences were 14% (95% CI, 2%-26%; P=.002) and 28% (95% CI, 14%-42%; P<.001), respectively. The suggestion that cannabis could substitute for opioids (eg, to treat chronic pain) was made by 25% (95% CI, 9%-41%) more brands in policy-exposed states than adjacent states (P=.002).Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, state-level policies designating OUD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis were associated with more dispensaries claiming cannabis can treat OUD. In the current policy environment, in which medical claims by cannabis dispensaries are largely unregulated, these advertisements could harm patients. Future research linking these policies to patient outcomes is warranted.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.10001

    View details for PubMedID 32662844

  • Association between medical cannabis laws and opioid overdose mortality has reversed over time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Shover, C. L., Davis, C. S., Gordon, S. C., Humphreys, K. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1903434116

    View details for PubMedID 31182592

  • Six policy lessons relevant to cannabis legalization. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse Shover, C. L., Humphreys, K. 2019: 1–9


    Cannabis (marijuana) has been legalized for recreational and/or medicinal use in many US states, despite remaining a Schedule-I drug at the federal level. As legalization regimes are established in multiple countries, public health professionals should leverage decades of knowledge from other policy areas (e.g., alcohol and tobacco regulation) to inform cannabis policy.Identify policy lessons from other more established policy areas that can inform cannabis policy in the United States, Canada, and any other nations that legalize recreational cannabis.Narrative review of policy and public health literature.We identified six key lessons to guide cannabis policy. To avoid the harms of "a medical system only in name," medical cannabis programs should either be regulated like medicine or combined with the recreational market. Capping potency of cannabis products can reduce the harms of the drug, including addiction. Pricing policies that promote public health may include minimum unit pricing or taxation by weight. Protecting science and public health from corporate interest can prevent the scenarios we have seen with soda and tobacco lobbies funding studies to report favorable results about their products. Legalizing states can go beyond reducing possession arrests (which can be accomplished without legalization) by expunging prior criminal records of cannabis-related convictions. Finally, facilitating rigorous research can differentiate truth from positive and negative hype about cannabis' effects.Scientists and policymakers can learn from the successes and failures of alcohol and tobacco policy to regulate cannabis products, thereby mitigating old harms of cannabis prohibition while reducing new harms from legalization.

    View details for PubMedID 30870053

  • The relationship of Medicaid expansion to psychiatric comorbidity care within substance use disorder treatment programs. Journal of substance abuse treatment Shover, C. L., Abraham, A., D'Aunno, T., Friedmann, P. D., Humphreys, K. 2019; 105: 44–50


    Co-occurring mental health disorders are common among substance use disorder (SUD) patients. Medicaid expansion aimed to reduce barriers to SUD and mental health care and thereby improve treatment outcomes.We estimated change in the proportion of United States SUD treatment sites offering treatment for psychiatric comorbidities following Medicaid expansion as part of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. Using panel data from the 2013-2014, n = 660, and 2016-2017, n = 638, waves of the National Drug Abuse Treatment System Survey (NDATSS), we estimated change in the proportion of sites offering antidepressant medication, other psychiatric medication, behavioral treatment, or any combination thereof for treatment of mental health comorbidities (i.e., beyond services focused on SUD). We modeled the impact of Medicaid expansion as an interaction between year and date of Medicaid expansion. We constructed a mixed-effects linear regression model for each outcome, with the interaction variable as the main exposure, site as a random effect, and site's average duration of treatment, proportion of clients with psychiatric comorbidities, average caseload per treatment prescribing-clinician on staff, type of facility and geographic region as covariates, to estimate a difference-in-differences (D-I-D) equation.The adjusted D-I-D analysis indicated that the proportion of SUD treatment sites offering antidepressants for psychiatric treatment increased 10% (95% CI 1%, 18%) in the Medicaid expansion sites compared to non-expansion sites. The D-I-D for other psychiatric medications was also 10% (95% 1%, 19%). No significant changes were observed in behavioral treatment or the combination measure. The strongest association between Medicaid expansion and offering medication for mental health comorbidities was the 34% increase observed for residential treatment settings (95% CI 10%, 59%).Availability of psychiatric medication treatment in SUD treatment settings increased following Medicaid expansion, particularly in residential SUD facilities. This policy change has facilitated integrated treatment for the substantial share of SUD treatment patients with mental health comorbidities, with the greatest benefit for patients receiving SUD treatment in residential programs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.07.012

    View details for PubMedID 31443890

  • Mind the gaps: prescription coverage and HIV incidence among patients receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis from a large federally qualified health center in Los Angeles, California : Mind the Gaps: Cobertura de recetas e incidencia de VIH entre pacientes recibiendo profilaxis pre-exposición de un centro de salud grande y federalmente calificado en Los Ángeles, CA. AIDS and behavior Shover, C. L., Shoptaw, S., Javanbakht, M., Lee, S. J., Bolan, R. K., Cunningham, N. J., Beymer, M. R., DeVost, M. A., Gorbach, P. M. 2019


    We conducted a records-based cohort study of patients who initiated pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) at a large federally qualified health center in Los Angeles, CA to characterize patterns of PrEP use, identify correlates of PrEP discontinuation, and calculate HIV incidence. Of 3121 individuals initiating PrEP between 2014 and 2017, 42% (n = 1314) were active (i.e., had a current PrEP prescription) in April 2018. HIV incidence was 0.1/100 person-years among active PrEP patients, compared to 2.1/100 person-years among patients who discontinued. Compared to patients accessing PrEP through government programs with no prescription copay, risk of discontinuation was higher among those with private insurance (ARR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.2, 1.7), or no insurance (ARR = 4.5, 95% CI 3.2, 6.4). Sixty-three percent of active PrEP patients had gaps between PrEP prescriptions, averaging one gap per year (median length = 65 days). Increasing access to free or low-cost PrEP can improve PrEP continuity.

    View details for PubMedID 30953305

  • HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis Initiation at a Large Community Clinic: Differences Between Eligibility, Awareness, and Uptake. American journal of public health Shover, C. L., Javanbakht, M., Shoptaw, S., Bolan, R. K., Lee, S. J., Parsons, J. T., Rendina, J., Gorbach, P. M. 2018: e1–e10


    To characterize uptake of HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in a community setting and to identify disparities in PrEP use by demographic and behavioral factors associated with increased HIV risk.We conducted a cross-sectional study of 19 587 men who have sex with men and transgender people visiting a Los Angeles, California, clinic specializing in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender care between August 2015 and February 2018 by using clinical care data.Seventy percent of patients met PrEP eligibility criteria, while 10% reported PrEP use. Using sex drugs, reporting both condomless anal intercourse and recent sexually transmitted infection, older age, and higher education level were associated with higher odds of PrEP use given eligibility. Latino or Asian race/ethnicity and bisexual orientation were associated with lower odds of PrEP use given eligibility. Higher odds of perceived need were associated with demographic risk factors but PrEP use was not similarly elevated.Discrepancies between PrEP eligibility, perceived need, and use reveal opportunities to improve PrEP delivery in community settings. Public Health Implications. Efforts are needed to facilitate PrEP uptake in populations with highest HIV incidence. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 23, 2018: e1-e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304623).

    View details for PubMedID 30138062

  • Using Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Monitor Disparities in HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Viral Hepatitis. American journal of public health Shover, C. L., DeVost, M. A., Beymer, M. R., Gorbach, P. M., Flynn, R. P., Bolan, R. K. 2018; 108 (S4): S277–S283


    To quantify sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) disparities in incidence of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and viral hepatitis.We performed a records-based study of 19 933 patients visiting a federally qualified health center in Los Angeles, California, between November 2016 and October 2017 that examined HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis incidence proportions. We created multivariable logistic regression models to examine the association between incidence proportions and SOGI among people living with HIV and HIV-negative patients.Among those who were HIV-negative at baseline (n = 16 757), 29% tested positive for any STI during the study period, compared with 38% of people living with HIV. Stratified by birth sex, STI positivity was 32% among men and 11% among women. By SOGI, STI positivity was 35% among gay and bisexual cisgender men, 15% among heterosexual cisgender men, 11% among cisgender women, 25% among transgender women, 13% among gay and bisexual transgender men, 3% among heterosexual transgender men, and 26% among nonbinary people.Stratifying by SOGI highlighted disparities that are obscured when stratifying by birth sex. Public Health Implications. To monitor and reduce disparities, health jurisdictions should include SOGI data with infectious disease reporting.

    View details for PubMedID 30383431

  • Emerging Characteristics of Isotonitazene-Involved Overdose Deaths: A Case-Control Study. Journal of addiction medicine Shover, C. L., Falasinnu, T. O., Freedman, R. B., Humphreys, K. 2020


    OBJECTIVES: Case reports of fatal overdoses involving the novel synthetic opioid isotonitazene have prompted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to consider an emergency scheduling of the drug in June 2020. We aimed to epidemiologically characterize deaths involving isotonitazene.METHODS: We conducted a case control study using publicly available mortality records from January 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020 in Cook County, IL and Milwaukee County, WI. Cases (all deaths involving isotonitazene) and controls (all deaths involving other synthetic opioids) were compared on demographic characteristics, number of substances involved in fatal overdose, and co-involvement of other substances.RESULTS: We identified 40 fatal overdoses involving isotonitazene and 981 fatal overdoses involving other synthetic opioids. Isotonitazene deaths involved a significantly greater number of substances, and were significantly more likely to involve the designer benzodiazepine flualprazolam.DISCUSSION: Isotonitazene was involved in a substantial minority of synthetic opioid overdose deaths in the first 7 months of 2020. Future studies characterizing its prevalence in other markets are warranted. Emergence of highly potent novel synthetic opioids underscore the need for comprehensive health services for people with opioid use disorder.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000775

    View details for PubMedID 33234804

  • Opioid Prescription and Persistent Opioid Use After Ectopic Pregnancy. Obstetrics and gynecology Wall-Wieler, E., Shover, C. L., Hah, J. M., Carmichael, S. L., Butwick, A. J. 2020


    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate outpatient opioid dispensing and the incidence of persistent opioid use after ectopic pregnancy.METHODS: This cohort study used U.S. employer-based claims data to identify opioid-naive individuals experiencing ectopic pregnancy from November 1, 2008, to September 30, 2015. Treatment was categorized as surgical, medical (using methotrexate), or unknown. New opioid prescriptions were defined as prescriptions filled from 1 week before to 1 week after an ectopic pregnancy treatment. For those who filled a new opioid prescription, we calculated the incidence and risk factors for persistent opioid use, defined as having filled at least one opioid prescription both from 8 to 90 days after treatment and from 91 to 365 days after treatment.RESULTS: Of the 15,338 individuals in our study, 7,047 (45.9%, 95% CI 45.2-46.7%) filled an opioid prescription at the time of treatment, of whom 4.1% (95% CI 3.6-4.6%) developed persistent opioid use. The risk of persistent opioid use was lower among those who had surgical compared with medical treatment (3.7% and 6.8%, respectively; relative risk [RR] 0.54, 95% CI 0.38-0.77). Variables most strongly associated with persistent opioid use were a history of benzodiazepine use (RR 1.99; 95% CI 1.43-2.78; adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.57, 95% CI 1.11-2.22), antidepressant use (RR 1.91, 95% CI 1.45-2.53; aRR 1.53, 95% CI 1.08-2.18), and a pre-existing pain disorder (RR 1.58, 95% CI 1.26-1.99; aRR 1.47, 95% CI 1.16-1.85) in the year before treatment.CONCLUSION: New opioid use is common after an ectopic pregnancy; approximately 4% of those with new opioid use develop persistent opioid use, with the rate higher in those treated medically. New pain-management guidelines need to be developed to prevent persistent opioid use after ectopic pregnancy.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004015

    View details for PubMedID 32769649

  • STRUCTURAL, DOSING, AND RISK CHANGE FACTORS AFFECTING DISCONTINUATION OF PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PREP) IN A LARGE URBAN CLINIC AIDS EDUCATION AND PREVENTION Shover, C. L., DeVost, M. A., Cunningham, N. J., Beymer, M. R., Flores, D., Flynn, R., Gorbach, P. M., Lyman, P., Amico, K., Bolan, R. K. 2020; 32 (4): 271-+
  • Structural, Dosing, and Risk Change Factors Affecting Discontinuation of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in a Large Urban Clinic. AIDS education and prevention : official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education Shover, C. L., DeVost, M. A., Cunningham, N. J., Beymer, M. R., Flores, D., Flynn, R., Gorbach, P. M., Lyman, P., Amico, K. R., Bolan, R. K. 2020; 32 (4): 271–S13


    Understanding why clients stop taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is critical to improve PrEP delivery and ultimately reduce HIV incidence. We analyzed data from a programmatic evaluation conducted at the Los Angeles LGBT Center from February to May 2018. Of 180 respondents to the emailed survey, 91 had stopped taking PrEP and 11 never started. Among former PrEP users, most common reasons for stopping were entering a monogamous relationship (43%) and side effects (40%). Ten of 11 who never started PrEP reported access barriers (e.g., cost, insurance problems). A quarter of inactive clients re-engaged with PrEP services following the survey and 15% restarted PrEP by October 2018. Improving PrEP retention may require multifaceted interventions-e.g., tailored discussions about stopping and restarting PrEP safely as HIV risk changes, ensuring consistent access to affordable PrEP, and alternative dosing strategies. An emailed survey may be a simple, effective strategy to reengage some PrEP clients.

    View details for DOI 10.1521/aeap.2020.32.4.271

    View details for PubMedID 32897133

  • Debunking Cannabidiol as a Treatment for COVID-19: Time for the FDA to Adopt a Focused Deterrence Model? CUREUS Shover, C. L., Humphreys, K. 2020; 12 (6)
  • Commentary on Larance et al. (2020): Priorities and concerns of people who use opioids are key to scaling up XR-buprenorphine. Addiction (Abingdon, England) Shover, C. L. 2020

    View details for DOI 10.1111/add.15048

    View details for PubMedID 32304255

  • Physical and Sexual Violence Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Adolescents. JAMA pediatrics Caputi, T. L., Shover, C. L., Watson, R. J. 2020

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.6291

    View details for PubMedID 32150233

  • Debunking Cannabidiol as a Treatment for COVID-19: Time for the FDA to Adopt a Focused Deterrence Model? Cureus Shover, C. L., Humphreys, K. 2020; 12 (6): e8671


    Many cannabidiol (CBD) retailers make unsupported medical claims about their product. In recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to CBD retailers who promoted CBD to treat Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious conditions for which there is no evidence of its efficacy as a treatment or preventive. Compliance with these warning letters has been low. During the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the FDA has begun sending more strongly worded warning letters that appear to have better compliance in that most of these companies have removed COVID-19-related claims. However, many continue to present other unsupported medical claims on other serious medical conditions like cancer, depression, addiction, and bone fractures, among many others. We argue that adopting a strategy of focused deterrence where the FDA prioritizes enforcement related to COVID-19 claims - but when COVID-19-related claims are found, pursues all other violations by that company - would present an opportunity to efficiently cut down on harmful claims overstating CBD's benefits.

    View details for DOI 10.7759/cureus.8671

    View details for PubMedID 32699671

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7370674

  • Recreational cannabis legalization presents an opportunity to reduce the harms of the US medical cannabis industry. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Humphreys, K., Shover, C. L. 2020; 19 (2): 191–92

    View details for DOI 10.1002/wps.20739

    View details for PubMedID 32394570

  • Availability of Extended-Release Buprenorphine to Treat Opioid Use Disorders Among Medicaid-Covered Patients. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) Shover, C. L. 2020: appips202000165

    View details for DOI 10.1176/

    View details for PubMedID 32907476

  • Six policy lessons relevant to cannabis legalization AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE Shover, C. L., Humphreys, K. 2019; 45 (6): 698–706
  • Age at first HIV test for MSM at a community health clinic in Los Angeles. AIDS care Maitino, E. M., Shafir, S. C., Beymer, M. R., Shover, C. L., Cunningham, N. J., Flynn, R. P., Bolan, R. K. 2019: 1–7


    Young MSM, especially ethnic and racial minority young MSM, bear a disproportionate burden of new HIV infections. This group also has the highest rates of undiagnosed infection and lowest rates of viral suppression. Previous research indicates that young MSM are testing for HIV too late, which may explain why rates of new HIV infection are rising in young Hispanic MSM and not falling in young Black and White MSM despite advances in preventive medications. Analysis of our sample showed an overall average age at first HIV test of approximately 26. The average age at first HIV test was 25.5 years for Black/African American individuals, 24.7 years for Hispanic individuals, and 28 years for White individuals. More testing resources and innovative outreach methods are needed to increase rates of testing among young MSM.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/09540121.2019.1683806

    View details for PubMedID 31663365

  • Mind the gaps: prescription coverage and HIV incidence among patients receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis from a large federally qualified health center in Los Angeles, California AIDS AND BEHAVIOR Shover, C. L., Shoptaw, S., Javanbakht, M., Lee, S., Bolan, R. K., Cunningham, N. J., Beymer, M. R., DeVost, M. A., Gorbach, P. M. 2019; 23 (10): 2730–40
  • HIVR4P 2018: From Research to Impact Conference Summary and Highlights AIDS RESEARCH AND HUMAN RETROVIRUSES Shacklett, B. L., Blanco, J., Hightow-Weidman, L., Mgodi, N., Alcami, J., Buchbinder, S., Chirenje, M., Dabee, S., Diallo, M., Dumchev, K., Herrera, C., Levy, M. E., Martin Gayo, E., Makoah, N., Mitchell, K. M., Mugwanya, K., Reddy, K., Luisa Rodriguez, M., Rodriguez-Garcia, M., Shover, C. L., Shrivastava, T., Tomaras, G., Van Diepen, M., Walia, M., Warren, M., Manrique, A., Thyagarajan, B., Torri, T. 2019
  • Associations Between Cannabis Use, Sexual Behavior, and Sexually Transmitted Infections/Human Immunodeficiency Virus in a Cohort of Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. Sexually transmitted diseases Gorbach, P. M., Javanbakht, M., Shover, C. L., Bolan, R. K., Ragsdale, A., Shoptaw, S. 2019; 46 (2): 105–11


    Among men who have sex with men (MSM) the relationship between sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cannabis use is not well established. We assessed cannabis use, sexual behavior, and STIs including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in a diverse cohort of young MSM.In Los Angeles, the mSTUDY cohort conducted visits every 6 months with 512 MSM between 2014 and 2017 collecting demographics, sexual behaviors, and reports of frequency of substance use. Each visit conducted testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis via blood, urine, and pharyngeal and rectal swabs by PCR, Human immunodeficiency virus was assessed using rapid tests for HIV-negatives and viral load for HIV-positives. We analyzed the relationship between cannabis use, sexual behaviors and STIs/HIV across 1535 visits.Significantly fewer participants tested positive for STIs at visits when reporting the previous 6 months use of only cannabis (11.7%) compared with no drugs (16.3%) or other drugs (20.0%, P = 0.01). Fewer MSM reporting only cannabis use than no or other drug use had been incarcerated, had incarcerated partners, experienced interpersonal violence, and were HIV-positive. In multivariable analyses visits with positive STIs were associated with other drug use (adjusted odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-2.78) but not use of cannabis only or no drug use after controlling for age, HIV status, new sex partners, and number of sex partners.When MSM reported using cannabis exclusively fewer STIs were detected and lower risk sexual engagements reported than when MSM reported no drug or other drug use.

    View details for PubMedID 30640212

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6342487

  • Predictors of availability of long-acting medication for opioid use disorder. Drug and alcohol dependence Shover, C. L., Humphreys, K. 2019; 204: 107586


    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three long-acting medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD): extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) in 2010, a subdermal buprenorphine implant in 2016, and a depot buprenorphine injection in 2017. Long-acting MOUD options may improve adherence while reducing diversion, but their availability compared to daily-dosing MOUD has not been well-characterized. The objective of this analysis was to characterize the availability of long-acting MOUD in substance use disorder treatment settings in the United States.Using the 2017 National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and state-level opioid overdose mortality, we examined associations between state- and facility-level factors and offering long-acting MOUD, which included XR-NTX and the buprenorphine implant. We constructed multivariable mixed logistic regression models for both types of long-acting MOUD.Nationwide, 38% (n = 5141) of substance use treatment facilities provided any kind of MOUD (daily or long-acting). Of these, 62% provided XR-NTX, whereas only 3% offered the buprenorphine implant. Facilities in the East North Central, East South Central, West North Central and Mountain regions had higher odds of offering XR-NTX, as did federally-funded facilities, and facilities in states with the highest opioid overdose mortality rates.In 2017, XR-NTX was available at most of the minority of facilities offering MOUD, but the buprenorphine implant was not. Increasing the availability of MOUD, including long-acting options, is necessary to address unmet need for opioid use disorder treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107586

    View details for PubMedID 31593871

  • App-Based Sexual Partner Seeking and Sexually Transmitted Infection Outcomes: A Cross-Sectional Study of HIV-Negative Men Who Have Sex With Men Attending a Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinic in Los Angeles, California SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES DeVost, M. A., Beymer, M. R., Weiss, R. E., Shover, C. L., Bolan, R. K. 2018; 45 (6): 394–99


    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) face higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with the general population. The association between venues where sexual partners are met and STI transmission is dynamic and poorly understood, especially among those who use geosocial networking (GSN) apps. This study aimed to determine whether there is a difference in STI incidence between MSM who met their last sexual partner through a GSN app and MSM who met their last partner via other venues.Data were analyzed from HIV-negative MSM attending the Los Angeles LBGT Center between August 2015 and July 2016 (n = 9499). Logistic regression models were used to investigate the relationship between STI incidence and whether or not an individual met his last partner through a GSN app.No relationship was detected between STI incidence and whether one's last sexual partner was met via GSN app. However, an association was detected between STI incidence and having used GSN apps to meet sexual partners in the past 3 months. A dose-response relationship was observed between the number of venues used to meet partners and testing positive for any STI (adjusted odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.14).The relationship between how people meet sexual partners and STI acquisition is much more nuanced than previously thought. Geosocial networking apps do not inherently expose users to high-risk reservoirs of STIs, but further understanding of the complexity of sexual networks and networking methods is warranted, given increasing rates of STIs.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000770

    View details for Web of Science ID 000432705500010

    View details for PubMedID 29465675

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5948131

  • Tobacco-Free Policies and Tobacco Cessation Systems at Health Centers Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Clients LGBT HEALTH Lee, J. L., DeMarco, M. E., Beymer, M. R., Shover, C. L., Bolan, R. K. 2018; 5 (4): 264–69


    LGBT populations have high rates of tobacco use. Health centers serving LGBT clients are an important source of care. The researchers aimed to assess the implementation of recommended systems-level tobacco cessation interventions at these health centers.Using systematic searching, directories, and expert review, we identified health centers serving LGBT clients that provide primary care. We conducted phone-based, semi-structured interviews with administrators (n = 11) between September 2016 and March 2017 regarding implementation of the Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update (the Guideline). Two authors confirmed saturation and two authors conducted thematic coding.Eight themes were identified, including clear evidence of systems-level procedures for asking about, advising on, and assessing tobacco use. Interviewees viewed tobacco use as important given existing disparities. However, there was room for improvement in the following areas: (1) Education for staff on tobacco cessation was ad hoc and not formalized; (2) materials and resources for tobacco cessation available in the center varied widely and changed when a staff champion arrived or left; (3) no point person was assigned to coordinate tobacco cessation efforts; and, (4) assessment of tobacco use as a vital sign is not consistent-some centers met meaningful use quality metrics (e.g., once or more in the past 24 months) instead of the Guideline recommendation (every visit). Addressing tobacco use competes with addressing other health risk behaviors.Administrators at health centers serving LGBT clients viewed tobacco use as an important issue. However, there was room for improvement in implementation of systems recommended in the Guideline. Targeted outreach is warranted to improve standardization of implementation and promote cessation of tobacco use.

    View details for PubMedID 29658846

  • Accuracy of Presumptive Gonorrhea Treatment for Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men: Results from a Large Sexual Health Clinic in Los Angeles, California LGBT HEALTH Shover, C. L., Beymer, M. R., Unger, E. M., Javanbakht, M., Bolan, R. K. 2018; 5 (2): 139–44


    This study analyzed the accuracy of presumptive gonorrhea treatment in a sexual health clinic serving primarily gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Treating suspected gonorrhea before laboratory confirmation can reduce symptoms and transmission; however, this strategy can overtreat uninfected individuals, which may promote antimicrobial resistance. We identified differences in accuracy of gonorrhea presumptive treatment by site of infection and presence of signs or symptoms.We conducted a cross-sectional study of gay, bisexual, and other MSM who were treated presumptively for gonorrhea at the Los Angeles LGBT Center between February and July 2015. We calculated positivity of treated patients, proportion of infections treated, and positive predictive value (PPV) of treating gonorrhea presumptively based on signs, symptoms, or exposure at the urethral, rectal, or pharyngeal site.Of 9141 testing visits, presumptive treatment was provided at 1677 (18%). Overall, gonococcal infections were identified at 31% (n = 527) of visits where presumptive treatment was provided, compared to 9% (n = 657) of visits without presumptive treatment (P < 0.01). Forty-five percent of gonococcal infections were treated presumptively, and treatment was provided at 14% of gonorrhea-negative visits. Seventy-eight percent of urethral, 54% of rectal, and 35% of pharyngeal infections were treated presumptively. PPV was highest for genitourinary signs.Approximately one-third of gay, bisexual, or other MSM treated presumptively for gonorrhea at a sexual health clinic tested positive for gonorrhea. These findings highlight the potential contribution of point-of-care tests in reducing overtreatment resulting from presumptive treatment.

    View details for PubMedID 29493405

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5833247

  • Does HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis use lead to a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections? A case-crossover study of men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California. Sexually transmitted infections Beymer, M. R., DeVost, M. A., Weiss, R. E., Dierst-Davies, R., Shover, C. L., Landovitz, R. J., Beniasians, C., Talan, A. J., Flynn, R. P., Krysiak, R., McLaughlin, K., Bolan, R. K. 2018


    Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective method for reducing HIV incidence among at-risk populations. However, concerns exist over the potential for an increase in STIs following PrEP initiation. The objective of this study is to compare the STI incidence before and after PrEP initiation within subjects among a cohort of men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California.The present study used data from patients who initiated PrEP services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center between October 2015 and October 2016 (n=275). A generalised linear mixed model was used with a case-crossover design to determine if there was a significant difference in STIs within subjects 365 days before (before-PrEP period) and 365 days after PrEP initiation (after-PrEP period).In a generalised linear mixed model, there were no significant differences in urethral gonorrhoea (P=0.95), rectal gonorrhoea (P=0.33), pharyngeal gonorrhoea (P=0.65) or urethral chlamydia (P=0.71) between periods. There were modest increases in rectal chlamydia (rate ratio (RR) 1.83; 95% CI 1.13 to 2.98; P=0.01) and syphilis diagnoses (RR 2.97; 95% CI 1.23 to 7.18; P=0.02).There were significant increases in rectal chlamydia and syphilis diagnoses when comparing the periods directly before and after PrEP initiation. However, only 28% of individuals had an increase in STIs between periods. Although risk compensation appears to be present for a segment of PrEP users, the majority of individuals either maintain or decrease their sexual risk following PrEP initiation.

    View details for PubMedID 29487172

  • Concordance between self-reported STI history and biomedical results among men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS Cunningham, N. J., Beymer, M. R., Javanbakht, M., Shover, C. L., Bolan, R. K. 2017; 93 (7): 514-+


    HIV studies and risk assessments among men who have sex with men (MSM) frequently use self-reported STI history as a proxy for true STI history. The objective of our study was to assess the validity of self-reported STI history through comparison with laboratory-confirmed biomedical results.Data were analysed for MSM attending the Los Angeles LGBT Center (the Center) from August 2011 to July 2015. We identified 10 529 unique MSM who received testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and/or syphilis and had a later visit in which they self-reported their STI history to a clinic counsellor during a risk assessment.MSM who had an STI in the past year self-reported their STI history with 51%-56% accuracy, and MSM who had an STI more than a year ago self-reported their STI history with 65%-72% accuracy. Among MSM with any positive STIs at the Center, black/African-American and Hispanic MSM were more likely to inaccurately self-report their positive results for gonorrhoea (adjusted OR (aOR): 1.48, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.01; aOR: 1.39, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.70). Additionally, HIV-positive MSM were more likely to inaccurately self-report their positive results for gonorrhoea (aOR: 1.63, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.18) and/or syphilis (aOR: 2.19, 95% CI 1.08 to 4.47).This is the first study that attempts to evaluate the validity of self-reported STI history among MSM. We found that self-reported STI history may not be an appropriate proxy for true STI history in certain settings and minority populations. Clinical guidelines and research studies that rely on self-reported STI history will need to modify their recommendations in light of the limited validity of these data.

    View details for PubMedID 28554893

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5815859

  • Are Partner Race and Intimate Partner Violence Associated with Incident and Newly Diagnosed HIV Infection in African-American Men Who Have Sex with Men? JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH-BULLETIN OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE Beymer, M. R., Harawa, N. T., Weiss, R. E., Shover, C. L., Toynes, B. R., Meanley, S., Bolan, R. K. 2017; 94 (5): 666–75


    Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (BMSM) experience a disparate rate of HIV infections among MSM. Previous analyses have determined that STI coinfection and undiagnosed HIV infection partly explain the disparity. However, few studies have analyzed the impact of partner-level variables on HIV incidence among BMSM. Data were analyzed for BMSM who attended the Los Angeles LGBT Center from August 2011 to July 2015 (n = 1974) to identify risk factors for HIV infection. A multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze predictors for HIV prevalence among all individuals at first test (n = 1974; entire sample). A multivariable survival analysis was used to analyze predictors for HIV incidence (n = 936; repeat tester subset). Condomless receptive anal intercourse at last sex, number of sexual partners in the last 30 days, and intimate partner violence (IPV) were significant partner-level predictors of HIV prevalence and incidence. Individuals who reported IPV had 2.39 times higher odds (CI 1.35-4.23) and 3.33 times higher hazard (CI 1.47-7.55) of seroconverting in the prevalence and incidence models, respectively. Reporting Black partners only was associated with increased HIV prevalence, but a statistically significant association was not found with incidence. IPV is an important correlate of both HIV prevalence and incidence in BMSM. Further studies should explore how IPV affects HIV risk trajectories among BMSM. Given that individuals with IPV history may struggle to negotiate safer sex, IPV also warrants consideration as a qualifying criterion among BMSM for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

    View details for PubMedID 28616719

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5610124