Illicit Drug Use Linked to HIV in Los Angeles County
In Los Angeles County, men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine are five times more likely to test positive for HIV, according to preliminary data from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The data indicate that 25% of the 6,360 MSM who were tested for HIV last year at the center reported using meth at least once. In 2005, 18% of 5,300 MSM reported using the drug at least once.
Mike Rizzo, the center's manager of meth recovery services, said 43% of newly infected HIV patients reported some meth use.
Jonathan Fielding, county public health director, said, "There's no doubt in the minds of most experts that meth contributes not only to the transmission of HIV, but other STDs." Fielding said the county has funded three new HIV-and meth-prevention programs specifically aimed at MSM (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 4/11).