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California Gay Men The Target of New Anti-Meth Campaign

posted 09:05 AM EST, Sat March 15, 2008
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California Gay Men The Target of New Anti-Meth Campaign © photo: Craiger66

55% of California gay men have tried crystal meth, and it's causing increased rates of HIV infection.

Fifty-five percent of gay and bisexual men polled in California admitted to having used crystal meth – in the general population only 5% have tried the drug - and one in three California men who test positive for HIV admit to having used meth. Crystal meth, health officials say, is tied to unsafe sex and the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Meth usage amongst gay men in California is problematic, and it's now the target of an about to be launched 11 million dollar media campaign on the dangers of the drug. Campaign funding comes out of the California Meth Initiative of 2006, and organizers hope to transmit their message against meth using a variety of media, including cable TV ad slots, a website (menotmeth.org), billboards and bus wraps.

While state funding for meth prevention is nothing new, public health groups have in the past come under criticism for producing horrific and debatably effective "scare-tactic" campaigns against the drug. This campaign takes a different approach and LA gay community leader Mike Rizzo praised these ads for their content and their delivery, saying they showed meth in a way "that is real and relatable and not easily dismissed as being overly alarmist."

Reducing meth use is seen as an effective way to lower new HIV infection rates in the state.

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