The California Office of AIDS funded the study, in which researchers spent two years interviewing men in low-income districts of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Joaquin counties. Of 1,000 participants, 6 percent reported meth use in the past six months, which is half the rate reported in national surveys of gay men. Anal sex with female partners was reported by 30 percent of meth-using heterosexual males, compared to 12 percent of non-users; 57 percent of meth users reported multiple partners, compared with 26 percent of non-users; and 16 percent of meth-users received money or drugs for sex, compared with 4 percent of non-users.
The data are important in the light of national reports showing increasing rates of heterosexual HIV infection in low-income communities, said Christopher Krawczyk, the study's lead author and a research scientist for the state Office of AIDS.
The study suggests that straight men in low-income neighborhoods might benefit from the type of linked meth- and HIV-prevention programs in use in the gay community.
The plague of meth is moving inexorably from west to east and has become a significant problem in Texas. According to the Texas Dept. of Public Safety,
meth lab seizures have quadrupled in recent years. The number of meth users entering treatment centers in Texas has increased from 1,800 in 2000 to 11,200 in 2004 — a six-fold increase.
We've talked about this issue before. Now I can't help adding: