THE second instalment of Turning Tina, a four-part resource for gay, bi and trans men living with HIV who also use crystal meth has just been released.

Put together by The Institute of Many (TIM) and Living Positive Victoria, Turning Tina aims to help with risk reduction and education about crystal meth, also known as “tina”.

[showads ad=MREC] Tristan* was a recreational user of tina until about three years who was asked to contribute to the resource. He thinks it’s long overdue and necessary for the community.

“I wanted to share my experience so that others didn’t feel they were alone,” he said.

“All you see in the media is the negative aspect of crystal meth and it’s important that they (users) have someone they can relate to.”

Despite maintaining a full-time job and only using on weekends, Tristan said he faced stigma about his use not only from within they gay community but also from health practitioners.

“It’s important with my experience that it was showing someone who hadn’t spiraled out of control and had their life in order,” he said.

“It’s surprising to me how cool and critical the gay community is, especially when we’re a community that has fought so hard for the respect we deserve.

“I was using a service and seeing a counselor and felt judged. That was supposed to be that one safe space.

“I shouldn’t be disrespected because as an adult I chose to partake in something.”

Tristan believes people will relate to Turning Tina because it is a peer created resource.

“You don’t always get all the information about tina,” he said.

“I think the things that makes this fantastic is it’s not coming from an agency or a funded source, but peers that have used before who know how stigmatising it can be.

“It’s an unique resource available to everyone so you know what you can do and where you can go.”

The second installment of Turning Tina is available for free download here.

*Tristan is not his real name.


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