Houston Chronicle Examines Crystal Meth Use Among MSM in Houston Area; Health Workers Worry About Surge in HIV, STD Cases
The Houston Chronicle on Tuesday examined crystal methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men in the Houston area and around the country, a trend that health care workers worry might "trigger a surge" in the number of cases of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. For example, the number of reported syphilis cases has more than doubled in Harris County, Texas, since 2001. Although there have been fewer new HIV cases reported in the county in recent years -- there were 1,140 cases in 2004 -- a 2004 nationwide survey found that the south-central region of the United States, which includes Texas, had the highest rate of crystal meth use among MSM. The Texas Department of Public Safety in 2001 began targeting small methamphetamine-producing labs, and officers have raided up to 100 labs annually in the state, according to Lt. Lee Ann Groves, former director of the multiagency task force that conducts the investigations (Turner, Houston Chronicle, 6/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.