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Toronto AIDS
agency toughens crystal meth warnings

Toronto AIDS
agency toughens crystal meth warnings

The AIDS 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.

ACT spokesman 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.

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