Crystal Meth fuels the fire of HIV/AIDS
A recent study published in the Dec 3, 2007 issue of AIDS Clinical Care reinforces preexistence evidence of the integral connection between HIV/AIDS and crystal meth. Crystal meth can cause its users to engage in risky sexual behavior, which is not unknown to its users. In fact, this is part of the sales point for the street drug. Meth increases sexual arousal and helps its users let go of their inhibitions, thus loosing their judgment in the process. Additionally, the drug is believed by its users to serve as an escape from depression, stress, and other emotional problems that might affect those with AIDS.
Unfortunately, there is a high prevalence of people with HIV/AIDS that use meth. In San Francisco, a study reported that 19-39% of those with HIV had used meth within the past year. Researchers believe that the risky behavior and loss of inhibition that meth causes is fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Meth is not only helping to increase the spread of AIDS but is also worsening the health of those users that already have AIDS. The following is an excerpt of an article from Journal Watch that discusses the issue in-depth:
This high prevalence is alarming because CM use can increase the risk for HIV transmission and also contribute to poorer health outcomes in HIV-infected users.
CM use increases the risk for HIV transmission and acquisition in a number of ways. First, the drug lowers sexual inhibitions, impairs judgment, and provides the necessary energy and confidence to engage in sexual activity for long periods of time. As a result, methamphetamine users are more likely… to have sex with injection drug users, HIV-positive partners, and those of unknown HIV status; they also tend to report a greater number of sex partners and to have a history of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).