The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, Body Positive (BP) and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) will hold a daylong community health forum on Saturday, January 12 to raise awareness on the alarming growth in club drug use among gay and bisexual men in New York City. While club drug use is not a new phenomenon among gay and bisexual men, on-going research led by NYU professor and health psychologist Dr. Perry Halkitis is revealing a startling growth in the use of MDMA (ecstasy), crystal methamphetamine, GHB, cocaine and ketamine in New York City’s gay party scene.

“Prevalent in sex clubs, circuit parties, bathhouses and bars, club drug use is fueling risky sexual behavior and damaging the health of a population already vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases,” according to Halkitis, principal researcher in a national study of club drug use and unprotected sexual behavior among gay/bisexual men known as bare-backing.

“My recent findings are so disturbing, I felt it was time to bring together researchers and advocates in the public health and addiction fields as well as advocates in the gay community to share information and discuss strategies on how to address this problem,” said Halkitis, the nation’s leading researcher on gay men’s health issues.

In addition to Halkitis, Patricia Case, of Harvard University, William Stackhouse, of the New York City Department of Health’s Prevention Planning Group, Thomas Borkowski of Columbia University, Arnold Grossman of NYU, and others will give presentations on:

  • The extent of club drug use and the health effects on gay/bisexual men in the city
  • Interactions of HIV medications and club drugs & the effects of drug use on medication adherence
  • The role of public sex environments in the club drug phenomenon
  • Victimization and club drug use among gay and bisexual youth
  • The context of ecstasy use among gay men
  • HIV and seroconversion among young gay and bisexual men of color.

“We hope this conference illuminates these issues and helps participants to think more critically about club drug abuse in our community,” said Michael Dentato, executive director of BP and co-organizer of the conference with Halkitis. “Many of BP’s clients’ health are very much affected by club drug use. We are thrilled to partner with CHEST and NYU to carry on a frank and scientifically informed dialogue about partying, HIV risk, and the health of HIV + men.” Reporters who are interested in attending the conference please contact, Paul Galatowitsch, Ph.D., or Patricia Allen at the numbers or email addresses above.

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