Club Drugs and Men's Health
Each year, Body Positive sponsors a conference on a current issue of relevance and importance to the HIV/AIDS community. The conference provides an opportunity for people involved in the field of HIV/AIDS to get together, learn, and dialogue around a particular issue.
This year's conference was entitled Club Drugs and Men's Health: A Community Forum, and was presented by Body Positive, New York University, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) in a collaborative effort.
Sponsors included Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingleheim, HX Magazine, MOMS/Specialty Care Pharmacy, STATSCRIPT Pharmacy, and Village Apothecary.
The conference was held Saturday, January 12, 2002, at New York University's Washington Square Campus. With an attendance of approximately 150, the conference included a morning plenary session as well as afternoon "breakout" sessions which participants could attend to get a more detailed picture of what a speaker presented in the morning panel. It also included breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.
Club Drugs and Men's HealthThe conference explored issues around club drugs and their effect on men's health, including club drug use and how it may affect sexual behaviors, including the role of risk for HIV/AIDS. Many issues were explored, including: MDMA ("ecstasy") use and men who have sex with men (MSM), the role of the "gay scene" in party drug use; young MSM of color and HIV seroconversion; medical and health implications for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative users; club drug use as a coping mechanism for young MSM; the ethnography of club drug use; HIV medication adherence and club drug use; and initiatives to address these issues. Throughout the course of this conference, we explored issues of behavior around club drug use.
The conference featured experts in the field, including Patricia Case M.P.H., Sc.D. (Harvard School of Medicine), Antonio Urbina, M.D. (Saint Vincent's Hospital), Beryl Koblin, Ph.D. (New York Blood Center), Perry Halkitis, M.S., Ph.D. (New York University), Robert Klitzman, M.D. (Columbia University), Jeffrey Parsons, Ph.D. (Hunter College, CUNY), Arnold Grossman, Ph.D. (New York University), Bill Stackhouse, Ph.D. (New York City Department of Health), and Thomas Borkowski, M.A. (Columbia University).
Other Special FeaturesThere was a room set up with tables so that organizations could bring materials and speak with participants throughout the day. Several agencies had promotional tables at the conference, including Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingleheim, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), Columbia University Center for AIDS Research, Dancesafe, Lower East Side Family Union, MOMS/Specialty Care Pharmacy, NYU Center for AIDS Research, NYU/The Steinhardt School of Education, One with Heart, Project Achieve, STATSCRIPT Pharmacy, and Village Apothecary.
There was also a special performance by the CHEST DIVAs, who dressed up as different party drugs (mostly in drag) and acted out the effect that their drug has on the human body and on sexual behavior. This was done in a game show format, with a "hostess" introducing each person/drug, and the audience voting at the end on who was "the biggest mess."
Interested in future conferences? Each year, we make an effort to choose issues that are relevant to health care providers, service providers, people with HIV/AIDS, and their loved ones. Conferences are open to the public. If you have ideas about future conferences, or would like to be on our mailing list, please call Dana at (212) 566-7333 x14.
Dana S. Levin is Director of Volunteer and Client Support Services at Body Positive.
Back to the March/April 2002 issue of Body Positive magazine.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.