Illinois: Forum Seeks Answers on Meth
December 19, 2006
The nexus of crystal methamphetamine use, risky sex and HIV infection among gay men was apparent in a recent community forum presentation by a Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) official.
About 10 percent of gay men in Chicago used meth in 2004, including 2 percent who used it weekly, said Nik Prachand of CDPH. In one survey, non-meth-using gay men reported an average 7.4 sex partners per year, compared with 19.9 sex partners for gay meth users, said Prachand. Meth users were three times likelier to have unprotected sex and four times likelier to be HIV-infected than non-users, he added.
The Chicago Crystal Meth Task Force (CCMTF) sponsored the forum, which was held Dec. 5 at Stockton Elementary School in Uptown. The task force's co-chair, Jim Pickett, and Bill Greaves, a liaison for Mayor Richard Daley, noted the joint efforts of public health officials, community groups, business owners and former users in trying to address the issue. Chicago Police Department Lt. Robert Stasch, of the 23rd District, stressed the need for community members to call police, anonymously, about meth dealers.
CDPH is joining Test Positive Aware Network, the Howard Brown Health Center, the Center on Halsted and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago to initiate CRYSP, a federally funded meth prevention program. Year one of the program comprises strategizing, followed by prevention and harm reduction efforts.
Chicago Free Press
12.13.2006; Gary Barlow
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.