In Denver and nationwide, more gay men are using meth, drawn by its reputation as a party drug that enhances every nerve ending – especially during sex, reports the Denver Post. Recent surveys show meth use among gay Denver men to be double the rate of use in the general population. Nationally, the trend has been noted in cities from Los Angeles to New York. It is becoming a serious public health issue because it encourages behavior that is risky for contracting the AIDS-causing HIV virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Meth use among gay men is “phenomenally higher than what we see in the heterosexual population, even given the rural epidemic of meth,” said Mark Thrun of Denver Public Health. A 2002 study of HIV-positive men in California identified their main reasons for meth use: to enhance sex, to relieve boredom, and to help them cope with negative emotions. Meth has now been linked to an increase of HIV among men who have sex with other men.