POZlife

POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

Gay Health Group Given Grant To Fight Meth Use

Posted by pozlife on December 29, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 28, 2007 – 1:00 pm ET

(New York City) Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s oldest HIV/AIDS organization, has been awarded $303,000 in federal funds to fight the growing role of crystal methamphetamine use in the HIV/AIDS epidemic on a national level.

The appropriation, signed by President Bush, was sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Studies have shown rising rates of crystal meth use among gay men and men who have sex with men over the last few years. Various studies show a clear link between crystal meth use and unsafe sex.

In a 2004 study conducted by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and the National Coalition of STD Directors, crystal meth users were more than twice as likely to be HIV infected, nearly twice as likely to contract gonorrhea, and five times as likely as non-crystal users to be diagnosed with syphilis.

Though crystal meth is most commonly smoked, injection use is on the rise. This is disturbing because of the increased potential for HIV transmission through shared needles, said Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, GMHC’s Chief Executive Officer.

Hill said that GMHC views its first-ever federal appropriation as a unique and unprecedented opportunity in the agency’s work to reach out to individuals who are struggling with crystal meth use and provide them with the information and tools to help them prevent becoming infected with HIV and other STIs.

“HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men in the United States are up 13% since 2001. In New York City, infections among young MSM are up by one third.

Crystal meth is one factor fueling this rise in HIV infections among gay men,” said Janet Weinberg, Senior Managing Director of Development and Legislative Funding.

“This funding will allow us to warn people of the risks of crystal meth before they start using and to get users into treatment.”

The legislation also flat-funded domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage education at $176 million for Fiscal Year 2008. The administration had sought an additional $28 million for the program.

“We’re disappointed that this omnibus bill still contains millions for harmful and ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage education and still contains the restriction banning the use of federal funds for syringe exchange,” said Sean Cahill, Managing Director for Public Policy, Research and Community Health at GMHC.

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