Committee of Toronto is toughening its warnings about the
possible link between crystal methamphetamine use and HIV
infection risk after the agency and other health
officials in the city have come under fire for
allegedly dragging their feet on the issue, the Toronto
Star reports. Toronto health experts have said
they don’t yet have enough evidence to conclusively
show that meth use boosts HIV infection risks through
increased risky sexual behavior. U.S. AIDS experts
have leveled heavy criticism at their Canadian
counterparts, saying U.S. studies prove such a link, with
some even suggesting Canadian officials have their
“heads in the sand.”
ACT has updated
its Web site to include a warning that “crystal meth
use increases sexual risk-taking among gay and
bisexual men.” The Web site also now says that
some studies have shown that the physiological effects
of meth on the body may also boost HIV infection risks.
Tyler Stiem told the Star his agency has never
denied that there may be a link between meth use and HIV
infection risks, saying that ACT instead was moving
cautiously until more definitive data was available.
"We've been trying very diligently to say that if
there's a connection, it hasn't been fully fleshed out in
studies,” he told the Star.
Shaun Proulx, a
member of Toronto’s newly formed crystal meth task
force, welcomes ACT’s decision to put crystal
meth warnings on its Web site. “In Toronto,
there has been a problem for a while, and people look to ACT
for a response as a leader in the community,”
he told the Star.