New York Times Examines Effect of Crystal Meth Use on Gay Community, Spread of HIV
The New York Times on Sunday examined how the illicit drug crystal methamphetamine has created a "ripple effect in the larger social world of gay men," as it can lower users' inhibitions and intensify sex drive, sometimes leading to risky behavior such as unprotected sex. Dr. Bruce Kellerhouse and Dan Carlson, co-founders of HIV Forum NYC -- an anti-crystal meth organization -- said they began the group in July 2003 after reports that the number of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men had increased 18% nationwide since 1999. Kellerhouse and Carlson attribute that increase to a rise in crystal meth use. According to the Times, "anecdotal evidence" from New York City doctors suggests that crystal meth plays a role in 50% to 75% of new HIV cases in the city, although there is no conclusive scientific data on the subject. HIV Forum NYC last month at the Fashion Institute of Technology held a public meeting on crystal meth; 300 people attended and some audience members and panelists gave personal testimony about the negative impact of crystal meth on the gay community. HIV Forum NYC also has launched an advertising campaign that highlights the risks associated with crystal meth (Owen, New York Times, 8/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.