IAS: Use of crystal methamphetamine boosts risk of transmitting drug-resistant HIV

Mark Mascolini
Published: 01 August 2005

Using crystal methamphetamine increases the risk of transmission of drug-resistant HIV as a result of unsafe sex practices by infected users with uninfected partners, according to results of a San Francisco survey detailed at the Third International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment held July 24-27th 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The survey study, presented by Peter Chin-Hong from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), determined that crystal methamphetamine use in HIV-infected persons with drug-resistant virus quadrupled the risk of unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an HIV-negative person or a person with unknown HIV status. Using the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra) also raised the risk of having had unsafe sex with a partner of unknown status in the preceding four months.

Chin-Hong and colleagues interviewed 168 men and 21 women with detectable viral loads and resistance-related mutations while receiving antiretroviral treatment. At one or more clinic visits, more than a quarter of these individuals reported having had unsafe sex with an HIV-negative person or a person of unknown HIV status.

Statistical analysis that controlled for several variables found that of five independent predictors of unsafe sex in the past four months with a person who was HIV-negative or of unknown status, crystal methamphetamine use had a strong effect as did sildenafil use and younger age: younger age (p < .001), sildenafil use (p = .001), crystal methamphetamine use (p = .004), homelessness (p = .07), and depression (p = .06).

A total of 38% of the survey respondents had virus resistant to the three oral antiretroviral classes, while 26% had virus resistant to protease inhibitors and NNRTIs and another 15% carried mutations conferring resistance to NRTIs and NNRTIs.

This content was licensed to aidsmap by iMedOptions, publishers of http://clinicaloptions.com. Copyright iMedOptions, LLC, 2005

For more coverage of the Third International AIDS Society Conference from Clinical Care Options for HIV, including news reports, detailed Capsule Summaries and PowerPoint slides of the key studies, and analysis from our panels of leading experts, visit http://clinicaloptions.com.


Chin-Hong P, et al. Methamphetamine use is associated with potential sexual transmission of drug-resistant HIV. Third International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, Rio de Janeiro, abstract MoPpLB0105, 2005.

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