|HIV Spread Among Speed Users|
he "HIV Vaccine Preparedness Study" sponsored by the SFDPH recently reported results of a survey of 648 gay/bisexual men. Although all the men were HIV-negative at the outset of the study, the sample was intrinsically high-risk in that half were aged under 30, and 61% were recruited at the City Clinic. Thus it was not surprising that one in three of the men admitted to having used speed. There were only minimal differences between ethnic groups in this proportion, but men aged 18-29 were much more likely to report speed use (42%) than men aged 30-39 (27%) or above 40 (15%).
In following up the group for 18 months, an HIV seroconversion rate of 2.7% per year was found. This rate is several times higher than that which we believe (or hope) prevails among the City's gay male population as a whole, but it is not unexpected for a high-risk subpopulation of gays. Among the study group, seroconversion was much more likely among men who reported injection drug use. Also, speed use, and cocaine use, were strongly associated with other HIV risk factors such as unprotected anal intercourse.
This study confirms once again that speed is a potent accessory to HIV infection. In that regard, speed has a lot going for it:
Speed combines the worst aspects of cocaine and heroin. It is a rubbing-raw of people's protective covering, in an environment rife with HIV. And speed use is on the rise (see MidCity Numbers, November 1993).
(MidCity Numbers, August 1995)(printer friendly version)