Virginia: Metropolitan Community Church Targets Meth Use and Rising HIV Rates
January 4, 2008
Two pastors of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), an international Los Angeles-based Christian denomination that welcomes and affirms gays and lesbians, recently joined other community leaders in northern Virginia for a World AIDS Day health fair targeting crystal methamphetamine and HIV.
"Meth use is not a new problem," said the Rev. Joshua Love. "But we are living in a time where the intersection of meth and HIV is alarming."
Many who turn to the powerful stimulant do so because of low self-esteem, said the Rev. Kharma Amos. "With crystal meth, for a little while, they can be good enough, or beautiful enough, or loved enough," she said.
Both ministers worry that many support programs do not appropriately address the relationship between drugs and sex. "What do you say to someone who tells you, 'I'm not sure I know how to have sex anymore without drugs in my body?'" asked Love, who is HIV-positive and a recovering meth user.
With its special outreach to the gay community, Amos feels the MCC is well-positioned to start a dialogue about drugs and sex. "The church has not traditionally been known as a place where you can honestly share your deepest questions and real-life experiences with sex, disease or drug use. But MCC is reversing that trend by bringing these issues out of the closet without judgment or shame," she said.
Q Notes (Charlotte, N.C.)
12.29.2007; Jim Birkitt, Matt Comer
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.