by Suzy Subways
JUNE 2007 • Issue 5
Many of us recall moments of drunken sexual risk-taking—whether disastrous or delicious—and can attest to the fact that crystal meth (methamphetamine) isn’t the only drug that can lead us to make decisions that put us at risk for HIV. The link between crystal meth use and risky sexual behaviors certainly isn’t limited to men who have sex with men. It’s a complicated link that isn’t well understood, varying from person to person and situation to situation. The community websites described below were created and maintained with the participation of current and former crystal users. Both sites are geared toward gay and bisexual men, but the content is relevant for anyone using or interested in understanding crystal meth. They offer a harm reduction approach, providing individuals with various tools to help them make informed personal decisions.
• Tweaker.org is an innovative San Francisco-based website with an array of resources for men who use crystal meth. Committed to harm reduction, the site provides background information about crystal meth and how it affects your physical, mental and sexual health. Tweaker.org includes a public forum in which men share their experiences and ideas about crystal meth. Men may submit their “True Stories” for publication and read the refreshingly honest writings of others, including some searingly funny anecdotes. Click on “Campaigns” to see current and past social marketing campaigns that Tweaker.org has kicked off. The site also includes a helpful list of harm reduction resources. This summer, sections of the site will be launched in Spanish, allowing it to serve even more men.
• CRYSTAL NEON, based in Seattle, provides accurate, honest information about how crystal affects the body and mind, options for reducing sexual and drug-using risks associated with crystal, and suggestions for managing or stopping crystal use. NEON’s philosophies are rooted in the concept of harm reduction and the belief that all individuals are capable of making life-enhancing decisions, regardless of their drug use. The website has useful materials, like a downloadable budget worksheet (click on “Managing” and then “Paying Your Dealer… and Your Rent!”) It’s also clever and lots of fun!
For information about the possible effects of crystal meth use on HIV disease progression and interactions between meth and anti-HIV drugs, read Much Ado About Meth by Tim Horn, published in the Spring 2005 issue of ACRIA Update.