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Crystal meth linked to HIV rise in Australia

Crystal meth linked to HIV rise in Australia

Methamphetamine use is responsible for the rise in HIV infections in the Australian state of Victoria, according to a new survey.

A survey conducted by the Prahran Market Clinic in Melbourne has shown that 84% of its patients living with HIV said ice was a significant cause for contracting the disease.

Dr Beng Eu, director of the clinic, told Gay News Network, ‘I think we’re surprised to the degree of the ice use that was common, but the infection of HIV was what we were expecting.

‘I think people who use ice are more likely to be risk takers, and people who use ice are more uninhibited, so they’re more likely to take risks as people that don’t make rational decisions when they’re on ice.’

The clinic surveyed 211 gay men between 2011 and 2013, 65 of whom had HIV.

In July a report by the Kirby Institute found HIV rate in Australia is at a 20-year high. There were 1,235 new cases last year, 88% of whom were gay men.

The survey follows a another Kirby Institute report published yesterday found that syphilis was at its highest recorded levels in Australia, mostly among gay men.

There were 1,765 diagnoses in 2013, a 34% increase over 2009.

Gonorrhea also increased 80% over that last five years. There were 14,947 diagnoses last year, compared with 13,842 in 2012.

Chlamydia was again the most common STI with 82,537 new diagnoses in 2013.

The New South Wales Ministry of Health also released HIV data today that showed the HIV rate had risen 3% in the first half of the year.

There were 185 diagnoses, 79% of which were in gay men.