Utah Conference Addresses Role of Meth Use in Spread of HIV
An increase in methamphetamine use is contributing to the spread of HIV in Utah because meth users are at an increased risk of engaging in high-risk sexual practices, including having multiple partners and not using condoms, Harry Rosado-Santos, an associate professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said Saturday at the 20th annual Living With AIDS Conference, the Salt Lake City Deseret News reports. Rosado-Santos also said that minority populations particularly are susceptible to HIV because they have a higher rate of meth use. He added, "Meth is cheaper and easier to get. We need to be careful."
According to the Deseret News, the conference -- sponsored by People With AIDS Coalition of Utah -- focused on HIV-positive people as well as their families, friends and caregivers, and HIV/AIDS service providers. It also addressed numerous issues such as government funding. Dana Smith, a physician assistant at the University of Utah Medical Center, said, "Even though we are seeing more and more new infections, this state has not received more money to treat patients with HIV and AIDS." According to the Deseret News, the state has received the same level of Ryan White Program funding for years, and health officials report that approximately 2,300 cumulative AIDS cases have been reported in Utah. Toni Johnson, director of PWACU, said the organization is planning to ask the state Legislature this year for funding to supplement Utah's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (Stewart, Salt Lake City Deseret News, 10/19).