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Bull Narc. 1988;40(1):21-34.

The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and intravenous drug abuse.

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National Institute on Drug Abuse, Rockville, Maryland.


Intravenous drug abusers constitute 25 per cent of the cases of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in adults in the United States of America and 21 per cent of such cases in Europe. The potential for the rapid spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among intravenous drug abusers exists because such drug abusers commonly share drug injection equipment. The heterosexual and perinatal spread of AIDS is also largely associated with intravenous drug abusers, and drug abusers have been identified as a major vector for the spread of the AIDS epidemic as it is associated with intravenous drug abuse. As long as intravenous drug abusers are addicted, they will continue to be at risk of contracting AIDS. Thus, the primary AIDS prevention strategy must be to help addicts to stop using drugs. It is suggested that drug abuse treatment resources should be expanded and outreach programmes developed to encourage more intravenous drug abusers to enter treatment. AIDS risk-reduction counseling must also be provided to intravenous drug abusers who continue injecting drugs, and to addicts and their sexual partners to prevent the sexual spread of HIV. Vigorous AIDS prevention initiatives must be undertaken now, using the most promising intervention strategies, while simultaneously evaluating and refining these strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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