Use of crystal methamphetamine is spreading among gay men in New York City, expanding beyond the city's club scene into the larger gay community, The New York Times reports. Worse yet, city doctors say meth use is likely linked with 50% to 75% of New York's new HIV infections. Previous studies have shown meth users are significantly more likely to engage in unprotected sex than nonusers, often with several partners in a single night. Gay Men's Health Crisis, the city's oldest AIDS agency, says it now averages five calls per day to its hotline about meth use; two years ago GMHC received very few calls in a year's time. GMHC officials also say 80% of the agency's clients who receive drug counseling say they primarily use crystal meth.
Some city activists and health organizations are conducting crystal meth awareness campaigns, particularly in Manhattan's heavily gay-populated neighborhoods of Chelsea and Greenwich Village. The HIV Forum NYC, organized by activists Dan Carlson and Bruce Kellerhouse, reports that about 300 people attended a public forum on crystal use held in July. The HIV Forum NYC in June also launched an anti-crystal ad campaign to coincide with Gay Pride Month.