Monday's 25th anniversary of the first reported AIDS
cases in the world, the New York City Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center launched a
new ad campaign to battle the growing use of crystal
methamphetamine among gay men, which studies have shown
significantly boosts risky sexual behavior and HIV infection
risks. The campaign, called "Silence =
Meth," echoes the "Silence = Death"
tagline used by the AIDS activist group ACT UP in the
1980s and 1990s. Center officials say they chose this
theme to urge a response to the growing crystal meth
epidemic similar in scope to the LGBT response to the AIDS
epidemic and to draw attention to the deadly links between
meth use and AIDS.
"Twenty-five years ago our community refused to be
silent about AIDS," said Richard Burns,
executive director of the center, in a press
statement. "Just as the ACT UP campaign alerted the
gay community to AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, the
center's 'Silence = Meth' campaign will
focus attention on the danger of crystal meth and what
the entire community must do to help prevent abuse and
addiction to this drug."
center's ads will be posted throughout the
predominantly gay Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
The ads also carry the message "25 years ago,
our community refused to be silent about AIDS. Today, we
must not be silent about Crystal Meth." These
ads are part of an ongoing campaign by the center and
other groups in New York to raise awareness of the dangers
of crystal meth use and to encourage gay men to stop using
the drug or to avoid taking it if they've never
In a 2006 survey
of gay and bisexual men in New York City, approximately
one in four indicated the use of crystal meth in the prior
six months, making New York second only to San
Francisco as the U.S. city with the greatest number of
gay and bisexual men who use meth.
shown that many gay men engage in unprotected
sex--often with multiple partners--while
high on crystal meth. Gay men who use crystal meth are
three to four times more likely to be HIV-positive than
those who do not use the drug, researchers say.