It’s well established that stigma and crystal meth use drive HIV transmissions, so better understanding the roots of these challenges and how to overcome them would help reduce new HIV cases. A $950,000 federal grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse will help a professor at the University of Connecticut explore these topics, reports UConn Today.

Specifically, Raymond L. Moody, PhD, will use the five-year grant—a K01 Mentored Career Development Award—to explore how internalized stigma and meth use relate to HIV risk among Latino sexual minority men (a term that mostly refers to men who have sex with men).

“Methamphetamine use is one of the most significant predictors of HIV vulnerability among sexual minority men,” Moody tells UConn Today. “As many as one in three new HIV infections [among sexual and gender minorities] are among people who use methamphetamine.”

Internalized shame, drug addiction and social stigma often fuel HIV rates, notes Moody, an assistant professor and clinical psychologist with expertise in substance abuse and sexual behavior among sexual and gender minorities.

He hopes to better understand the source of the stigma, how it affects a person’s health and what solutions may best be applied to the problem.

The study will consist of two parts, according to UConn Today. In the first part, Moody will examine existing data on over 5,000 sexual and minority men across the United States. In the second part, Moody and his team will work with a new group of men who will participate in surveys and the collection of inflammatory biomarkers.

To learn more about the intersection of meth use and HIV rates, click #Crystal Meth. You’ll find articles including: