San Francisco public health officials on Tuesday announced a series of grants to area groups totaling $425,000 to help reduce the use and abuse of crystal methamphetamine among gay men in the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Health officials and AIDS activists, who have held a series of public hearings this year about crystal meth abuse, say crystal meth users are significantly more likely than nonusers to have unprotected sex, which has led to rising infection rates of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among the city's gay men. Crystal meth users are also twice as likely to be infected with HIV than those who don't use the drug, health officials say.
The specific grants include $250,000 for gay-focused service groups in the city, $100,000 for addiction counseling at the Stonewall Project, and $75,000 to New Leaf Services for Our Community, a gay counseling center. San Francisco supervisor Bevan Dufty, who has spearheaded the city's examination of the crystal meth problem, said he hopes the funds also will be used to reduce waiting lists for substance abuse programs so that gay men who are addicted to crystal meth can immediately seek treatment.