California: Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Receives Grant to Study Gay Men and Meth
February 16, 2006
A $320,000 grant to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association will allow the agency to examine the extent of methamphetamine addiction among gay and bisexual men, explore the most promising options for treating it, and develop recommendations for health care providers about getting patients into treatment. Hythiam Inc., a health care service management company, provided the grant.
Meth is associated for many gay users with sex, often unprotected anal sex, which can lead to HIV and other STDs such as hepatitis, human papillomavirus and syphilis. However, treatment options generally place recovering users in settings where they feel self-conscious discussing the drug and their sexuality. Patients have complained of not wanting to discuss their issues in front of straight counselors or fellow addicts.
Dr. Steven Lee, a GLMA board member who specializes in treating meth addiction in gay men, said, "The number of heterosexual meth users far exceed[s] the number of gay meth users. However, this drug clearly has a dangerous impact on a more sizeable proportion of the gay community. ... Because use of meth has such harmful consequences and is so intensely addictive, it is crucial to investigate more effective treatments."
A 2003 study co-led by the Chicago Department of Public Health and CDC found that about 10 percent of 287 gay men sampled had used meth at least once in the previous year, compared to 0.7 percent of the general population. A joint 2000-2001 study by the University of California-San Francisco's AIDS Health Project, CDC and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, found meth users were three times as likely as nonusers to contract HIV.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
02.09.06; Rob Akers