, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 194-199

The methamphetamine epidemic: Implications for HIV prevention and treatment

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Abstract

Methamphetamine and related amphetamine compounds are among the most commonly used illicit drugs, with over 35 million users worldwide. In the United States, admissions for methamphetamine treatment have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Methamphetamine use is prevalent among persons with HIV infection and persons at risk for HIV, particularly among men who have sex with men. In addition to being associated with increased sexual risk behavior, methamphetamine causes significant medical morbidity, including neurologic deficits, cardiovascular compromise, dental decay, and skin infections, all of which may be worsened in the presence of HIV/AIDS. Methamphetamine use may also result in decreased medication adherence, particularly during "binging" episodes. Behavioral counseling remains the standard of treatment for methamphetamine dependence, although the effectiveness of most counseling interventions has not been rigorously tested. Pharmacologic and structural interventions may prove valuable additional interventions to reduce methamphetamine use.