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27
Jul

High drug use amongst gay community

cocaineNew research from the UK Drugs Policy Commission has concluded that gay men and lesbians are far more likely to put their health at risk from drug misuse than heterosexuals. Results of the study, published in Pink Paper and The Observer, quotes findings from the British Crime Survey, which estimate that 10% of heterosexuals took drugs last year, compared with 33% of gay or bisexual people. Commenting on the study, Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes at gay men’s health charity GMFA, highlighted the health risks that can accompany such drug taking.

“These findings echo other studies, which found that 40% of gay men used drugs in the previous year - three times more than the general population.

Getting drunk or wasted can make people do things that they probably wouldn’t do when sober, and that includes taking sexual risks. Even subtle effects from drugs or alcohol can alter people’s judgment, perceptions and the decisions they make.

Drugs such as coke, Crystal Meth or ecstasy may make you more vulnerable to a range of infections, including HIV. Crystal Meth can also lead to an increase in the level of viral load in HIV positive men, which means that they will be more infectious. Moreover, poppers, which are associated with an increased risk of HIV infection, are used by more than half of gay men in each year. While some drugs may facilitate transmission, drugs are not the cause of HIV. Whether you take drugs or not, using condoms remains the best way to protect yourself and your partners from HIV.”

Posted: 27 July 2010

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