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NIDA

Infectious Diseases

Expanded HIV Screening Projected To Decrease Spread of the Virus

Intensified screening for HIV among injection drug users receiving opioid agonist therapy could prevent more than twice as many new infections as current screening practice. A recent study based on mathematical modeling found that screening every 6 months instead of annually, and adding viral RNA testing to the currently used HIV antibody testing, could improve both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

New Approach Uses Immune Cells To Deliver Anti-HIV Medications

Nano-antiretroviral therapy (nano-ART) turns macrophages—one of the very cell types that HIV uses to replicate and spread through the body—into carriers for anti-HIV medications. The approach has the potential to make treatment for HIV easier and more effective.

Study Endorses Onsite HIV Testing Without Risk Reduction Counseling

Patients were more likely to take a rapid HIV test when substance abuse treatment programs offered the test onsite rather than referred for offsite testing. Patients were equally likely to accept and learn their HIV status whether the offer of onsite testing was accompanied by 30 minutes of risk reduction counseling or by 5 minutes of brief information on the testing procedure. Onsite testing accompanied by brief information was cost effective, taking into account the projected lifetime costs of treatment and the gains in health and longevity for detected cases.

Seek-Test-Treat-Retain To Stop the Spread of HIV

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

Despite the advances in treatment and prevention, roughly 50,000 new HIV infections still occur annually in the Nation. Research, in large part supported by NIDA, has produced a strategy to address this circumstance and break the epidemiological impasse: seek out HIV-infected individuals, particularly those in “hard-to-reach” groups that have minimal contact with the health care system; offer them HIV testing and treatment; and provide support to help them stay in treatment.

Antiretroviral Treatment Reduces Spread of HIV Among Injection Drug Users

Expanded use of antiretroviral therapy in British Columbia reduced the spread of HIV among injection drug users and others in the province.

Drugs Contribute to High Rates of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Juvenile Offenders

Describe a study of newly arrested youths where researchers found correlations between the youths' prevalence of these sexually transmitted diseases and their cocaine and marijuana use.

Among Young Attendees at STD Clinics, Substance Abusers Report More Risky Sexual Behavior

Highlights data on the risky sexual behaviors of patients at a sexually transmitted disease clinic who had a substance abuse disorder as compared to those without a substance abuse disorder.

Study Gives Green Light to Antiretroviral Medications for HIV-Infected Injection Drug Users

Reports finding from a study showing that access to antiretroviral therapies, HAART in particular, can improve the health of HIV-infected patients who have a history of injection drug use.

Letter from the Director

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) — has been with us for three decades now. Today, an entire generation of young adults has never known a world without HIV/AIDS.

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