Health Officials Worry That Ease of Finding Meth, Sex on Internet Will Lead to Increase of HIV Among MSM
Some health officials are concerned that the ease with which people can use the Internet to find crystal methamphetamine and sex partners will lead to an increase in the number of new HIV cases among men who have sex with men, Reuters reports. Web sites such as Adam4Adam.com, Manhunt.net and Craigslist.org allow members to search at no cost for partners by proximity, HIV status, appearance, drug use and sexual practices, including whether they use condoms. According to CDC, men who have taken crystal meth are four times more likely to engage in unsafe sex than those who have not taken the drug (Verrinder, Reuters, 1/17). In addition, a research letter published in the Sept. 2, 2005, issue of the journal AIDS said that meth users are at least three times as likely as nonusers to be HIV-positive (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/20/06). Michael Siever, director of a San Francisco counseling program for MSM who use crystal meth, said some people who have been using the drug for a long time develop a tolerance to it. He added that developing a tolerance to crystal meth leads some users to inject the drug -- sometimes with dirty needles, which can lead to HIV transmission. According to Gal Mayer -- medical director of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, a private clinic for MSM in New York City -- about half of new patients who test HIV-positive at the center said that meth or alcohol was a factor in transmission (Reuters, 1/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.