Meth Conference Tackles HIV Issue
August 23, 2005
More than 900 people from across the nation gathered in Salt Lake City over the weekend for the inaugural National Conference on Methamphetamine, HIV and Hepatitis. The conference, sponsored by the Harm Reduction Project, presented drug education and prevention information and promoted safe sex practices.
Youths, men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, and incarcerated persons are all more likely to report having sex under the influence of drugs, according to a 2004 HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment report funded through Utah's Department of Health. In random online hookups, some people look to PNP ("party and play"), or meet others who like to mix crystal methamphetamine use with often risky sex.
At a conference presentation on preventing PNP behavior, Mark Biggler of Weber State University said the first step is to acknowledge the pleasure factor associated with sex and drugs. "There is a pleasure that bridges meth and sex," he said. "To recognize pleasure as a central theme keeps us from lying about why it is appealing," and thus helps create effective education, he said.
"Most people want to take care of themselves, and that includes people who use drugs," said Michael Siever, director of San Francisco-based Stonewall Project. He discussed the harm-reduction model in which people are counseled on how to reduce drug use and prevent it from becoming a bridge for blood-borne infections. "By not telling them what to do they can make the decision to quit by themselves," said Siever.
Salt Lake Tribune
08.21.05; Michael N. Westley
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.