Crystal methamphetamine, which has become a popular party drug for some members of New York City’s gay community, is hindering progress in the fight against AIDS, Reuters reported June 7.
According to city officials and AIDS activists, crystal meth has led to an increase in unprotected intercourse. “The bottom line is that crystal meth is a dangerous drug,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden. “It also increases HIV risk, and we’re seeing it increasingly in New York.”
Experts said drug use in the city’s bathhouses, where some gay men go for sexual encounters, creates an environment for spreading AIDS because users suffer impaired judgment. Although drug use is technically prohibited in bathhouses, private rooms made regulation difficult.
AIDS activists are calling on city officials to enhance condom distribution and implement tougher regulations for condom use in bathhouses.
This summer, city officials plan to conduct a $300,000 program and create a task force aimed at addressing crystal-meth use in the gay community.