Game Plan: Efficacy of a Brief, Web-based Intervention on Alcohol Use and Sexually-transmitted Infections

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Brown University
Updated on 25 April 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


The proposed study involves conducting a larger-scale study exploring Game Plan's effects among MSM in the real-world, alongside innovative approaches for expanding HIV testing. Using a hybrid 1 effectiveness-implementation approach, the investigators will recruit up to 360 high-risk, heavy drinking MSM online from several high-incidence areas in the US to participate in a program providing home-based HIV/STI self-tests in the mail at regular intervals over a year (baseline, 6 months, 12 months). Participants will be randomly assigned to receive access to either (1) a 24-hour helpline for counseling/referrals, or (2) the helpline plus Game Plan. Investigators will test whether those who use Game Plan show lower rates of heavy drinking, any STIs, and high-risk CAS events compared to those receiving access to the helpline alone.


This is a hybrid 1 effectiveness-implementation, mixed methods study that involves conducting a longitudinal randomized controlled trial in which high-risk, heavy drinking MSM (N = 360) will be recruited online from several high-incidence US cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Washington DC/Baltimore. Participants will be sent HIV and STI self-testing kits at baseline, 6 mo., and 12 mo. Along with their test kits, they will be randomized to receive access to either: (1) a 24-hour helpline providing free standard post-test counseling and referral, or (2) the 24-hour helpline plus the Game Plan app. Test kits will provide testing and results for HIV, Syphilis, and genital, rectal, and pharyngeal Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, as well as phosphatidylethanol (PEth). Participants will also be asked to complete an online follow-up survey every three months that assess drinking, sexual behavior, and use of prevention methods over the 12-month study period. At 12 mo., 30 participants and 12 HST stakeholders will be recruited to participate in qualitative interviews to issues relevant to implementing Game Plan alongside HIV testing programs. Specifically, this study aims to: (1) test whether using a brief, MI-inspired, web-based intervention (Game Plan) after HST reduces (a) binge drinking, (b) the average number of drinks per drinking day over 12 months among heavy-drinking and high-risk, HIV-negative MSM, compared to providing access to a 24h helpline providing risk-reduction counseling alone, (2) test whether using Game Plan results in lower rates of (a) bacterial STIs, (b) high-risk CAS, and (c) higher rates of PrEP uptake over 12 months, and (3) to assess Game Plan's potential for implementation into self-testing programs by examining indicators of adoption, engagement, appropriateness and satisfaction among MSM assigned to have access to the site. Investigators will use site metrics and responses, survey data, and in-depth qualitative interview data from users and virtual focus groups with stakeholders to help address key implementation questions.

Condition Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial, Alcohol; Harmful Use
Treatment Access to Game Plan app and 24-hour helpline
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04552171
SponsorBrown University
Last Modified on25 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Assigned male sex at birth
Currently male gender
+ years old
HIV-negative or unknown status
Able to speak and read English or Spanish fluently
Report drinking heavily within the past month, defined according to NIAAA guidelines as having drank >5 drinks on a single occasion at least once or an average of >14 drinks in a given week
Not being currently prescribed or taking PrEP
Having met at least one of three HIV-risk-related PrEP eligibility criteria in the last 6 months: (a) having been diagnosed with an STI, (b) currently having regular anal sex with a man who is HIV-positive, or (c) having had anal sex without a condom with a man outside of the context of a sexually exclusive relationship with a single partner who has been recently tested and is HIV-negative

Exclusion Criteria

Injection drug use in the past year
Screened positive for drug use disorder
Report history or risk of complicated alcohol withdrawal
Report currently receiving medications or counseling for an alcohol or drug use disorder
Clear my responses

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