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A New Year, A New Opportunity: Metropolitan Community Church Leaders Urge Faith Leaders to Address HIV and Crystal Meth Use Among LGBT Youth
Date:12/19/2007

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 1991, Kharma Amos dressed up as a condom to pass out HIV prevention materials in Tulsa, OK.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071219/DC10343-a

http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071219/DC10343-b )

That same year, 16-year-old Joshua Love began volunteering for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and AIDS service organizations in Santa Fe, NM. He wanted to combat homophobia and honor the memory of his Uncle Patrick, who died of AIDS.

Since that time, Amos has traded her condom costume for a clergy collar, Love is studying for ordination -- and they are on a mission. Both are ministers in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), and in the New Year they are determined to spark important dialogue about HIV and crystal meth use in the LGBT community.

To set the stage for that dialogue, Amos and Love recently joined leaders from more than 30 organizations in Northern Virginia for a World AIDS Day 2007 health fair focusing on LGBTs, HIV, and crystal meth.

Public health officials are increasingly worried about the role of crystal meth and its impact on syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. "Meth use is not a new problem," Love says, "but we are living in a time where the intersection of meth and HIV is alarming."

Amos believes the problem is complicated by meth users' devastating lack of self-esteem -- "With crystal meth, for a little while, they can be good enough, or beautiful enough, or loved enough."

That can be a powerful incentive to keep using meth, in spite of the damage it causes. Love asks, "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?' Now we have people with a meth problem, who approach sex th
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SOURCE Metropolitan Community Churches
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