Dr. Kristen Ries (left) and Maggie Snyder of the University of Utah Hospital
Utah Doctor Warns about HIV-Methamphetamines Connection

February 2007

A doctor who pioneered the treatment of HIV/AIDS says that illegal drugs, methamphetamines in particular, are related to the spread of HIV in Utah. Dr. Kristen Ries, Director of the University of Utah AIDS Center, made the statement in a recent interview with QSaltLake.

“In our clinic we are seeing young 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds coming in newly-infected with HIV and it’s mostly related to methamphetamine,” Ries said.

According to Ries, HIV-positive individuals using meth have poor adherence to their medication needs, leading to the development and transmission drug-resistant HIV. “Less than half of our deaths in the past year were HIV-related,” said Ries. “Most were due to substance abuse problems like heart attacks and strokes and overdose.”

“It's very hard to see so many young people with permanent brain dysfunction,” Ries added. “A lot of people are very disabled and will never have the quality of life they had before, both due to the effects of HIV and methamphetamine on the brain.”

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