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Local and Community News

San Francisco Supervisors Hold Forum on Speed Use

May 7, 2003

San Francisco Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Tom Ammiano called a special City Hall meeting for tonight, May 7, about crystal methamphetamine use -- which is devastating the gay community and spreading HIV -- and how city resources can help alleviate the problem. "Crystal is quietly decimating our community," said Dufty. "During 2002, as a candidate, I met gay men of all ages and backgrounds whose lives, relationships, and careers were destroyed by crystal meth usage and addiction."

Crystal methamphetamine is easily attainable in the Castro district and is widely popular with late night clubgoers. The drug allows users to stay up for hours, days, even weeks at a time. Speed users, who are derisively called "tweakers," snort, smoke or inject the drug. It has also become a part of many gay men's sexual habits. Advertisements on Internet meeting sites often refer to "PNP," which stands for "party and play" and means using meth while having sex. Speed users experience stronger sexual drives and often lose their inhibitions about sexual practices.

"I always had safe sex. There definitely was a change of behavior to having unsafe sex," said one gay man in his late 30s about his speed addiction.

Because federal guidelines place more emphasis on injectable drugs, meth's impact on spreading HIV and other STDs has been difficult for researchers to gauge. The city's HIV Prevention Planning Council for several years has asked city epidemiologists to track data on speed users.

"Crystal is equal opportunity; it compromises the health of men that are positive as much as it puts men that are negative at risk for seroconversion," said Dufty. The meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. in room 263 of City Hall and be broadcast live on San Francisco cable access channel 26.

Back to other CDC news for May 7, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
05.01.03; Matthew S. Bajko

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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.
See Also
Ask Our Expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., About Substance Use and HIV
More on Gay Men, Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS