While high we do things that we wouldn’t otherwise do, and with a loss of inhibition and a loss of impulse control, it’s too easy to contract a deadly disease with a moment’s lapse of judgment.
Unfortunately, with the continuing prevalence of recreational meth use within west coast gay communities, and a recent spread of meth within east coast venues, gay community leaders are growing concerned and exasperated. They bemoan that the hard work of a decade of safer sex campaigns is becoming unraveled through the use and abuse of party drugs…and statistics seem to back their anguish.
Viagra and Meth
A major risk factor for the contraction of HIV is the concurrent use of erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra and meth, and in certain west coast communities, more than a third of newly HIV infected men reveal having used meth within the last 6 months. As if the physical and mental devastation of crystal meth was not enough, while speeding on meth, there is a great loss of inhibitions and a fearless reckless desire to act on impulses. With the internet fueling informally organized home meth and sex parties, the spread of HIV has grown exponentially after years of declines.
In addition to meth fueled risky behaviors, HIV advocates explain that a new generation of gay men, aware of the major breakthroughs in HIV and AIDS treatments, simply do not fear the disease as they should, and do not take the needed steps to protect themselves. Besides the dangers of STD’s including HIV, syphilis and others, increasing numbers of long time weekend meth users are ultimately finding the temptations of meth too great, and within the gay community there has been an endemic increase in meth addiction rates.
While throughout the country the average meth user is predominantly rural and from a lower socio economic class, the average gay meth user is just as likely to be an urban professional.
Meth certainly does not discriminate. Newly launched public awareness campaigns have drawn criticism for their negativity and scare mongering tactics, but proponents defend the severity of the ads explaining that they wanted to provoke a reaction, and that the scope of the problem demanded a forceful response.
Although the debate about appropriate reactions to the meth fueled HIV increases rage primarily within the gay community, the reality of meth and risky behaviors transcends all communities, and any recreational or dependent meth user greatly impairs their judgment and increases the probability of contracting HIV and other sexually transited diseases. Another great reason not to use devastating crystal meth, and to get treatment help before it’s too late if you already do.