Individuals who use crystal meth are greatly increasing their chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. Some may point to the fact that the drug can be injected as the reason why meth users are in danger, just like any IV drug-user would be; however, the issue with meth is more complicated than that. Experts believe that the increased risk has far more to do with the risky sexual practices that stem from the use of the drug.
In fact, in the laboratory, animal studies have demonstrated that the use of amphetamines, the category of drug crystal meth belongs to, caused both obsessive and prolonged sexual encounters. Through sociological and epidemiological research, we are finding the drug causes the same results in the human population.
Crystal Meth Use Increases Chance of Risky Sexual Behavior and STD Transmission
It appears that both casual users of crystal meth and addicts alike have an increased risk of contracting an STD. One study with 9,000 subjects found that people who had used crystal meth any time in the last year had a 400-percent increase in HIV transmission, 400-percent increase in syphilis, and a 200-percent increase in both gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rise in all STDs, not just HIV, is seen because many users abuse meth for its impact on sexual ability. Meth has the following effects on an individual’s sexual experience:
- Prolonged sexual encounters
- Intensified sexual pleasure
- Increased chance of risky sexual behavior (e.g., multiple partners, unprotected sex, etc.)
- Dried out mucous membranes leading to cuts on penis, vagina and anus where HIV may enter the body
Gay Men Are 10 Times More Likely to Use Crystal Meth Than General Population
The LGBT community is working hard to get the word out about how and why crystal meth increases the spread of STDs and HIV especially among the gay population as they have an elevated use of meth in comparison with the general population. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported an 18-percent increase in the use of crystal meth among gay men in South Florida. Simultaneously, research focused on homosexual males found that meth users are three times as likely to engage in unprotected sex, have a condom break or contract HIV as gay men who do not use the drug.
Another study looking at the homosexual population leaves the door open for further research on how meth affects HIV transmission. This study controlled for risky sexual behavior and still found that meth users were twice as likely to contract HIV. Researchers believe that this may point to the need for additional scientific investigation to understand all ways meth increases the likelihood of HIV transmission.
Do you know someone who needs help to stop using crystal meth? If so, we can help find a high-quality treatment program that meets their personal needs. We can connect you with evidence-based rehab centers that treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Pick up the phone and let us support you today.