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Conference
addresses meth and HIV among gay Latinos

Conference
addresses meth and HIV among gay Latinos

Officials at the recent National Conference on Latinos and AIDS in Chicago say that crystal methamphetamine use is emerging as a leading cause for HIV infections among gay Latino men, but they note that there are few meth awareness and prevention programs that target Latin men, the Chicago Free Press reports.

"Studies show crystal meth use among Latino gay men is similar to white gay men. Yet there are virtually no campaigns for users or to prevent crystal meth use in Spanish," Dennis deLeon, president of the New York-based Latino Commission on AIDS, told the Free Press. But simply translating the language of meth prevention and treatment programs designed for white gay men into Spanish will likely fail because they won't be culturally relevant to Latin men, he adds.

DeLeon also says that the considerable stigma homosexuality carries in Latin communities may play a role in increased HIV infection risks for gay Latin men. "For Latino men who have sex with men, sexual silence imposed by the family is an important factor in HIV," he told the Free Press. "The silence built of fear of disclosure leads drug-using Latino men and women and Latino [men who have sex with men] to engage in more risky sexual behavior in unsafe venues."

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