February/March #121 : Ask the Sexperts-Feb/March 2006 - by Dr. Perry Halkitis

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Table of Contents
 

A Positive Attraction

10 Black AIDS Warriors to Watch




Love Yourself

Why...-Feb/March 2006

Into The Genes

$ for Drugs

Breaking The Ice

Don't Let HIV Bug Your Bed

Inch By Inch

Trainer’s Bench - Feb/March 2006

Face Forward

Ask the Sexperts-Feb/March 2006

Food Play




Porn Again

The Final Score

Team HIV

Cruising

Buzz-Feb/March 2006

Our Man In Africa

Earthwatch-Feb/March 2006

Mentors-Feb/March 2006




Mailbox-Feb/March 2006

Founder's Letter-Feb/March 2006



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV



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February / March 2006


Ask the Sexperts-Feb/March 2006

by Dr. Perry Halkitis

The sobering dangers of meth for the HIV positive

My partner and I are both positive and sometimes party with crystal meth. Can it do additional harm?
                            —Party Pal


Dear Pal,
Let’s be real: Crystal methamphetamine is an attractive drug. It offers seemingly limitless energy, makes you feel more attractive and turbo charges sexual pleasure. It can invigorate a couple’s sex life. But, even for recreational users, the drug can become an addiction. Whether smoked, snorted, injected or inserted anally, meth can fuel sexual risk-taking, like unprotected sex with multiple partners, and other behaviors by which you could transmit or receive the virus.

For positive men and women, using meth recreationally or regularly can further compromise the immune system—especially for those who don’t sleep, eat, exercise and take meds properly. In my own study of 300 positive gay men on meds, those on meth were less likely to take them.

Meth’s psychological high affects the brain’s levels of dopamine, which regulates feelings of pleasure.

Indeed, many people who’ve regularly used meth report decreased sexual enjoyment for as long as two years after quitting.

Dopamine neurons and receptors can even become permanently damaged—a condition associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Meth can also make you more infectious, leaving you and your partner vulnerable to swapping HIV strains (superinfection) or other STDs. If your meth use is out of control, support is available. Many cities offer Crystal Meth Anonymous groups, and most AIDS service organizations can direct you to help. If you’re not ready to quit, reduce risk by avoiding injection, which causes skin infections that heighten transmission risk. You can take care of yourself even while partying.

+ Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, is a professor at New York University and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies.

Got a question for our sexpert? E-mail it to sexpert@poz.com.


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