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Crystal Meth and HIV

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					                                                            ISSUE NO. 10




                                                       Crystal Meth and HIV
                                                             What You Need to Know About How They Interact

          HIV MEDICATION & METH                                                                       METH EFFECTS ON HIV

Not much is known about the interaction between                       We know HIV weakens the immune system over a period of time and a
crystal meth and HIV medications. This is due to a                    damaged immune system makes it difficult to fight off diseases. No new
few reasons:                                                          news there!

1. Pharmaceutical companies are not doing                             We also know the party lifestyle (staying awake for days at a time, not
   this research.                                                     drinking enough water or not eating enough food or the right foods) also
                                                                      destroys the immune system.
2. Because of the US War on Drugs, it’s unlikely
                                                                      What you might not know is that meth “eats” through the immune system.
   the Government is going to fund this research.
                                                                      Crystal use itself causes a drop in T-cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells.
3. Even if there was funding and someone was                          The drug, the lifestyle on the drug and HIV take a major toll on those who
   willing to do the research, it would be hard                       are immune compromised.
   to get scientific results since the purity of party
   drugs varies significantly.
                                                                                                            DRUG HOLIDAYS
What we do know is that certain HIV medications
are designed to boost the effects of other HIV                        Those on HIV medications who use crystal meth may have poor adherence
medications, therefore, boosting the effects of                       or take drug holidays.
any other drugs that may be in your system.
                                                                      Unsupervised drug holidays, especially when partying, are tricky because
For example:                                                          they can lead to a drop in T-cell counts and a rise in viral loads.
HIV medications like Ritonavir can multiply the                       Drug holidays are also dangerous because it gives the virus a chance to
effects of illicit or perscription drugs.                             mutate and become immune to the medication the user is taking.

In 1997 a man with AIDS who had been taking                           Source: www.tweaker.org

Ritonavir died suddenly after taking only two hits
of ecstasy (X). But his blood level measured 4.6                                              neXT WeeK’S ToPic:
mg of MDMA which is equal to 22 hits of X.                                                    THE QUESTION & ANSWER ISSUE

            STATiSTicS from The L.A. GAy & LeSbiAn cenTer
• In 2006, 43% of all new HIV infections reported at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center were individuals
  who had used meth. That’s almost half!
• 5,319 gay men tested for HIV or other STDs at the Center in 2005, and 18% reported that they
  had used crystal meth at least once in their lifetime, and 9% had used the drug in the previous 12
  months. In 2006, the percentage of gay men who reported using crystal meth at least once in their
  lifetime had increased to 25%, and the percentage of those who had used it in the last year had
  increased to 13% (of the 6,360 people tested.)
• The 2006 data indicate that gay men who had used meth within the previous 12 months were
  five times more likely to test positive for HIV than those who did not use meth.



                                                                                                                                    323-993-7448
                                                                                                                                             Call:
                                                                                                           E-mail: methrecovery@lagaycenter.org
                                                                                                                  Visit: www.lagaycenter.org/meth

The Meth Memo is a series of memos designed to educate individuals about Crystal Meth. Developed by Mike Rizzo.
       Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy.

				
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posted:12/17/2011
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