The use of crystal methamphetamine by men who have sex with men (MSM) increases the risk of HIV transmission and can cause complications in those who are already HIV-positive, according to an article in the March 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.
Highly popular with young people who frequent dance clubs, crystal meth and its cousin "Ecstasy" both induce a feeling of elation and alertness. This sense of well-being is dangerous, though, as it lessens inhibitions and can lead to unprotected sex with multiple partners. HIV rates are high among methamphetamine users, putting younger MSM at an increased risk for infection.
Meth-induced lapses in judgment leading to promiscuous sexual behavior make users more likely to contract HIV, but the drug itself could also increase the risk "because it may suppress a part of your immune system thats important in fighting off HIV," said Dr. Antonio Urbina, lead author of the study. Furthermore, he said, meth and its analogs, such as "Ecstasy," can be fatal when mixed with certain antiretroviral treatment (ART). In addition, HIV-positive meth users on HIV medications are missing more doses and are likely contributing to the spread of drug-resistant strains of HIV, said Dr. Urbina.
Jeff Minerd | EurekAlert!
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