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HIV and Meth Use
Jul 9, 2011

I have been HIV positive for the last 10 - 11 years and most recently started using crystal meth again. How long does it take for the substance to allow the virus to take control over my immune system?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

I hate to hear that you've started crystal meth again - it's such a tough drug to get over that it is always much easier to stay off it than to try and get clean. As I have stated before, there are a few people out there who claim to be able to use methamphetamine once in a while without allowing it to take over their lives. I know many more people who wish they were in that category but, unfortunately, quickly get into trouble with the meth. I can't tell you how long it will take before the drug has an impact, but that outcome is inevitable for several reasons. When someone takes meth they typically use for several days at a time, and any adherence to the antiviral medications goes out the window. Additionally, unsafe sex is the norm when using meth which, of course, compromises your health status. Finally, meth appears to have an adverse impact on the immune system in ways we don't really understand. My advice is to steer clear of that drug. You can find all kinds of resources for help: Narcotics Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, or SMART Recovery. Good luck and take care,

David



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