San Francisco officials, health experts, and members of the public attended a forum Wednesday to discuss the growing problem of crystal methamphetamine abuse and subsequent high-risk sexual behaviors by gay and bisexual men in the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. About 150 people attended the meeting, which focused on possible ways to curb rising levels of meth use among men who have sex with men.
According to city health officials, about 30% of men newly diagnosed with HIV during the past year reported using crystal meth. Gay and bisexual men who use the drug are twice as likely to become infected with HIV than as who do not use meth, and they are significantly less likely to use condoms.
Speakers at the meeting called for more city, state, and federal funding for mental health programs as well as drug abuse prevention and counseling because anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions often lead to substance abuse. City supervisor Bevan Dufty, who called for the public meeting, asked business leaders to contribute to treatment programs.