Several New York City groups have teamed up to address crystal methamphetamine use by African-Americans in the region through a community-awareness campaign that features posters of black men with the accompanying tagline, "PNP? Party N' Play or Party N' Pay?" The slogan refers to study data showing that gay and bisexual men who use crystal meth are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and possibly expose themselves to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The posters will be placed in telephone kiosks in the city's Harlem, Chelsea, and West Village neighborhoods this month and remain displayed through January. The posters will refer people to the Harlem United Community AIDS Center for more information and treatment services. The campaign is being coordinated by the Harlem AIDS center, New York Panthers Leather Club, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center.
"Crystal meth has permeated many communities in New York City," says Perry Halkitis, director of New York University's Center for HIV/AIDS Education and Training. "Our most recent research data indicates a dramatic and alarming increase in crystal meth use among gay men of color, which means we must not wait another minute to implement wide-reaching prevention-education campaigns."
Barbara Warren, who is responsible for research at the NYU center, said, "A decade ago we watched as cocaine use grew into a crack epidemic in communities of color. With this collaboration and campaign, we are trying to prevent crystal meth use from exploding into an epidemic among men of color."
The groups are also cosponsoring a free forum, "The Realities of Crystal Meth for Men of Color," to be held January 12 at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. The forum will be held from 6-8 p.m. at 2031 Fifth Ave., between 125th and 126th streets.