<% IssueDate = "9/27/04" IssueCategory = "Health" %> GayToday.com - Health

New York's Male Crystal Meth Users: Preventing HIV/AIDS

Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report

New York City only recently has begun to experience the crystal methamphetamine drug epidemic that originated in California a decade ago, and therefore the city has the "luxury of utilizing effective prevention programs that have proved effective" in Los Angeles for reducing the risk of HIV infection among male drug users who have unprotected sex with men, author Patrick Moore writes in a Long Island Newsday opinion piece (Moore, Long Island Newsday, 9/22).

The number of new HIV infections among MSM has increased 18% nationwide since 1999, which some experts attribute to an increase in crystal meth use. Anecdotal evidence from New York City doctors suggests that crystal meth plays a role in 50% to 75% of new HIV cases in the city, although there is no conclusive scientific data on the subject (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/30).

According to Moore, crystal meth use among MSM has been a "major factor" in increasing HIV/AIDS prevalence rates within the population. Therefore, New York City should focus its drug prevention programs on the impact of crystal meth on MSM, including HIV transmission, Moore says.

However, "rather than reinventing the wheel," New York City should "quickly implement" effective programs that have been employed in Los Angeles, Moore says.

These methods include providing more "specific, explicit information" about prevention methods other than condom use, implementing educational initiatives and outreach programs in the city's sex clubs and training HIV/AIDS educators in drug counseling in order to "provide a message truly targeted to their clients," Moore says.

If New York implemented such programs, it "would be able to deal not only with the risk crystal (meth) represents" to MSM but "also plan for the near future," Moore says, concluding that use of the drug in California now has spread beyond MSM to "lawyers, construction workers, media executives and factory workers of all genders and sexual preferences. That is a future New York does not want" (Long Island Newsday, 9/22).
UNICEF Plans To Launch $1 Billion Fundraising
Campaign To Help AIDS Orphans

UNICEF next year plans to launch a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $1 billion over six years to help AIDS orphans, Peter McDermott, HIV/AIDS adviser for UNICEF, said Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports.

"Our target is to reach 10 million orphans and assist them to get access to schools, have food and meet other needs," McDermott -- who is attending a three-day conference on AIDS orphans in Cape Town, South Africa -- said.

Representatives from UNAIDS and the United Nations World Food Programme and officials from 17 African countries also are attending the conference, according to AFP/Yahoo! News. McDermott said UNICEF has been meeting with donors and hopes to launch the fundraising campaign in 2005 to curb the projected increase in the number of AIDS orphans through 2010, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 9/22).

The total number of children throughout the world who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes has reached 15 million, and the number of AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa increased to about 12 million in 2003, according to a joint report by UNAIDS, UNICEF and USAID released on July 13 at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The report, titled "Children on the Brink 2004," shows that the number of orphans worldwide is expected to reach 18.4 million by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/14).
This summary is from the Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv provided by kaisernetwork.org), a free health policy news summary and webcasting service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org by National Journal Group Inc. 2004 by National Journal Group Inc. and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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