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California: Party Drugs, AIDS Discussed at Expo During White Party

April 14, 2009

On Friday, the National Association of People with AIDS hosted an AIDS expo in Palm Springs to kick off this year's White Party, one of the largest social gatherings of gay men in the United States. The expo was part of NAPWA's regional meeting to help local people living with HIV/AIDS discuss their concerns and advocate for effective state and federal HIV/AIDS policies.

"We're taking it on the road so we can hear from different communities what their concerns and needs are," said Stephen Bailous, a NAPWA spokesperson. "It's important that we continue to do this to empower the community." "We've got to make it easy for people to get care," he added.

The regional meeting featured discussions about party drugs and HIV, dating and HIV, and hepatitis-HIV co-infection. Methamphetamine use generally, and its use among White Party attendees in particular, concerns health care advocates.

About a dozen people attending a Friday panel on party drugs and HIV discussed whether meth could ever be used recreationally without the risk of becoming an addict. "It's kind of like playing Russian roulette," said Mike Rizzo, manager of crystal meth recovery services at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. "The odds are against you. Why risk it?"

"One of the wonderful things these regional NAPWA meetings do is help fight the stigma and isolation that still exists for many people living with HIV/AIDS," said David Brinkman, executive director for the Desert AIDS Project. "They provide a forum for discussing their concerns with others who truly understand, that's a part of what we do every day at DAP."

Back to other news for April 2009

Adapted from:
Desert Sun (Palm Springs)
04.11.09; Nicole C. Brambila

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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.
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