Friday, September 15, 2006

There's Nothing Pretty about Tina

For the past year, the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project (MAPP) has been working on addressing the growing problem of methamphetamine abuse and addiction. MAPP has always been cognizant of the relationship between certain types of drug use ( including alcohol) and HIV/ AIDS risk behavior. Increased meth use, particularly among some gay men, is fueling new HIV infections in many states. We would like to prevent or reduce that potential crisis from happening in Michigan.

Known as crystal, ice, meth, or tina, the drug is highly addictive, and very damaging to the body. Users of meth damage their heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Regular use causes extreme damage to the teeth and gums, and can also cause impotence in men. And while meth is often used as self-medication for depression or social isolation, its continued use actually exacerbates those problems. The crash after meth use is severe, debilitating, and leads to the addiction, or need for more of the drug.

Meth initially makes one feel invincible. It increases energy, and can increase libido. To counteract the deflating effects on sexual function, it is sometimes used with viagra or other performance enhancing drugs. In this scenario, men may have multiple high risk sexual contacts at a bathhouse or party, thus explaining the higher rate of disease among such men.
Rates of syphilis, HIV infection, and other sexually transmitted diseases run two to three times higher among meth users than non-users.

While amphetamines, and their dangers, have been around for a long time, the new meth is home-made, cheaper, much more toxic, and more addictive.

The final insult from meth is that its use causes one to age quickly. While many people, including gay men, like to look younger than their age, meth users quickly begin to look much older. Regular meth use will add years to one's looks. And there is nothing pretty about that.

For more information about meth, including treatment and help...check out our new web site...


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