WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. New findings that one in 20 North Carolina men who have sex with men (MSM) reported using crystal methamphetamine during the previous month suggests increased risk for spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), according to researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues.
The rate of methamphetamine use among 1,189 MSM was 30 times higher than levels reported in the general U.S. population over the same period. Methampehtamine, or meth, is a highly addictive stimulant that has been found to impair judgment, decrease inhibition, increase impulsivity and enhance sexual sensitivity which can all increase the potential for transmitting HIV.
The studys authors found that participants who reported using methamphetamines were more likely to report inconsistent condom use during anal sex within the past three months, a history of STD infection, being HIV-positive and using medications designed to treat erectile dysfunction.
Until now, there has been little data on meth use in the Southeast, said lead author Scott D. Rhodes, Ph.D. M.P.H., associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy. Our findings, including that meth users were more likely to be HIV-positive, suggest that prevention, intervention and treatment efforts are urgently needed.
Rhodes noted that some of the men reported having sex with both men and women, which means the risk of HIV extends to both sexes.
The studys results will be published on Aug. 20 in AIDS Patient Care and STDs, a leading AIDS journal that provides the latest research for clinicians and researchers. It is among the first to document meth use among MSM in the South, which carries a disproportionate HIV, AIDS, and STD burden, with 46 percent of newly identified cases.
The findings underscore the need for further research and intervention, said Rhodes. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is clearly not o
|Contact: Karen Richardson|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center