L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Data Show MSM Five Times More Likely To Test HIV-Positive if They Used Crystal Meth
Men who have sex with men and used crystal methamphetamine in the last year were five times more likely to test HIV-positive than MSM who did not use the drug, according to preliminary data collected by the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. The center also found that 25% of the 6,360 MSM it tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in 2006 reported using crystal meth at least once, compared with 18% of the 5,300 MSM tested in 2005. Mike Rizzo, the center's manager of crystal meth recovery services, said 43% of people newly infected with HIV report some meth use. "There's no doubt in the minds of most experts that meth contributes not only to the transmission of HIV but other" STIs, Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said. According to Fielding, more people who seek treatment in Los Angeles County-funded programs use meth than any other drug. He said the county has funded three new HIV and meth prevention programs targeting MSM. West Hollywood, Calif., on Wednesday planned to hold a news conference to increase public awareness about meth use among MSM and to release public service announcements that aim to help combat the issue. In addition, West Hollywood officials on Wednesday scheduled a town hall forum to discuss expanded treatment options for MSM who use meth (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 4/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.