Drug abuse and HIV/AIDS are intertwined epidemics in ways that go beyond the sharing of drug injection equipment. While injection drug users are still at great risk, anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also at heightened risk of contracting or transmitting HIV. Drug abuse can also contribute to a more serious HIV disease progression, possibly through direct effects or interactions with HIV on the immune system, and also by adversely impacting adherence to HIV treatment. Finally, because highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is enabling more people to live longer with HIV, HIV is being redefined as a chronic illness with associated medical disease consequences, particularly for the brain.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.