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Crysal Meth and HIV

Dec 7, 2003

Does non-IV crystal meth use affect the AIDS epidemic? Does the use of it accelerate viral replication? Does it lessen the body's immune response to illness in general? Do people miss doses of HIV meds while high? Are they more likely to practice unsafe sex? If so, Does crystal meth use substantially affect a person's illness?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Is crystal meth use affecting the AIDS epidemic? Yes, there is evidence that it is, especially in certain populations. For instance, health experts estimate that up to 40% of gay men here in San Francisco have tried crystal meth. Even more alarming is a health department study last year that found that 25-30% of those newly infected with HIV reported crystal meth use in the previous six months. Current statistics suggest that gay men in California who use speed (crystal meth) are twice as likely to be HIV-positive compared to gay men who don't use it.

Methamphetamine use is certainly not confined to the gay/bisexual men who like to party. In fact, it's now spread widely into suburbs and is being tried by teens facing boredom, peer pressure, and undiagnosed psychological problems.

There is now considerable evidence that crystal meth is associated with increased sexual risk behaviors and is leading to new STD infections, including HIV.

Does crystal meth use decrease adherence to HIV medication regimens? Yes.

Can crystal meth substantially affect the course of a person's HIV disease? Yes. For more information, check out

Dr. Bob

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