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Methamphetamine used by 10% of gay men in London, higher level of use seen in HIV-pos

Discussion in 'Methamphetamine' started by tre2005be, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. tre2005be

    tre2005be Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    May 31, 2006
    taken from http://www.aidsmap.com/en/news/8800C071-F53A-414B-919F-2BF91764A9F5.asp

    Approximately 10% of gay men in London have used the recreational drug methamphetamine, according to a study published in the online edition of the journal Addiction. Use of methamphetamine by gay men has previously been linked to HIV risk behaviours by researchers in the United States. Although investigators from the City University in London found a link between use of methamphetamine and unsafe sex, they were unable to establish a causal link between use of the drug and risky sex. The investigators also found that use of methamphetamine formed part of a repertoire of drug use behaviour and the link between unsafe sex seen for methamphetamine was also present for other more widely used and less stigmatised recreational drugs, such as ecstasy.

    Methamphetamine was recently recommended for reclassification as a Class A drug in the United Kingdom, but despite some sensationalist and alarmist media claims there is, in fact, very limited and conflicting evidence about the extent of its use by gay in the UK.

    Investigators from London’s City University, who have undertaken extensive research into the sexual behaviour of gay men, recruited a total of 700 gay men to a study in an attempt to further understand the extent and implications of methamphetamine use by gay men in London. The men completed a questionnaire about their drug use and sexual behaviour. A total of 400 men were HIV-positive and were recruited at an HIV treatment centre, the remaining 300 HIV-negative men were recruited at a sexual health clinic and an HIV testing centre.

    Methamphetamine was used by 13% of HIV-positive men in the previous year and 8% of HIV-negative men. But the City University investigators stressed that most men were infrequent users of the drug. Of men with HIV, 9% said that they had used the drug once or twice in the previous twelve months, 3% said they used it once or twice a month, but less than 1% - fewer than four individuals who took part in the survey – said they used the narcotic on a weekly basis.

    The findings of the City University study are broadly in line with that of the 2005 National Gay Men’s Sex Survey which found that a little over 6% of gay men in London reported use of the drug in the previous year, although higher levels of use were seen amongst HIV-positive men.

    However, an earlier study conducted by the City University investigators involving 500 gay gym users found much higher levels of methamphetamine use, with almost 20% of men surveyed reporting use of the drug between 2003 – 2005. This study was widely quoted in the media as showing that one-in-five gay men in the capital used methamphetamine, however, investigators are now stressing that the 20% usage figure seen amongst gym users “probably reflects meth use among gay men who are part of the London club-drug scene – the sample is not representative of all London gay men.”

    A connection was also established between the use of methamphetamine and other recreational drugs, with 90% of meth users reporting the use of another narcotic. Men who used methamphetamine were also more likely than other men to report the use of cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy.

    In the US and Australia, methamphetamine use has been blamed for an apparent increase in levels of unsafe sex. Investigators from City University found that men who used methamphetamine were two to three times more likely to report unprotected sex than men who did not use the drug. Investigator Professor Jonathan Elford commented, “We found a clear link between crystal meth use and unsafe sex. Men who used crystal meth were at least twice as likely to report unsafe sex as other men.” But Prof. Elford was eager to stress that the association between methamphetamine use and HIV risk behaviours was far from clear-cut as men who used cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine were also twice as likely to report unsafe sex.

    Prof. Elford added that much is still unknown about the nature of the association between methamphetamine use and unprotected sex, “it could be that some gay men follow a riskier lifestyle in general and methamphetamine is simply part of this picture. More research is needed to establish cause and effect.” Furthermore Prof. Elford continued “we can’t say that crystal meth use leads to unsafe sex, we need to be aware of the link between the two. Research into specific episodes of drug use and high risk sex would throw light on this issue.”

    Several education campaigns have been targeted at gay men about methamphetamine in recent years. The UK’s largest HIV charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, has outreach workers in gay clubs in the Vauxhall area of the capital and the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS has also been undertaking research into the extent and implications of methamphetamine use amongst HIV-positive gay men.


    Bolding G et al. Use of crystal methamphetamine among gay men in London. Addiction 101 (online edition), 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2017
  2. BeetleJuice

    BeetleJuice Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Feb 11, 2005
    33 y/o
    Re: Methamphetamine used by 10% of gay men in London, higher level of use seen in HIV

    Is this ment to be gay bashing? coz if it is then it makes little sense,10% of gay people use meth,how much % of straight people do you think use it?

    PS-im not gay (not that there is anything wrong with it)
  3. mansoormir

    mansoormir Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Re: Methamphetamine used by 10% of gay men in London

    If you read the original report this is actually a very interesting study - its the first major piece of academic work to look at the use of crystal by gay men in London.

    Two points to note though about the headline figure:
    - As noted by Jonathan Elford in the AIDSMap article above the figure refers to the number who have ever used crystal (so this would include people who have tried it once or twice but aren't currently using and don't intend to in the future).
    - It could be argued that the sample is not representative. Whilst the study surveyed an impressively large number of gay men they were mostly recruited in specific environments (HIV clinics or gyms). With any research into drugs use its also going to be very difficult to reach all types of users. For example, I would predict that those whose use is currently problematic would be much less likely to volunteer for such research.

    The study was quantitative in nature and the authors themselves flagged up the need for further qualitative research to examine the role crystal plays in the lives of gay men. This is the direction I'm taking in a study I'm currently conducting where I'll be giving participants the chance to talk in-depth about the drug. If you'd like to take part (interviews to take place at the end of March) please see the seperate post in this section with further details of my own project.