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.
Drug abuse and addiction have been inextricably linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. The link has to do with heightened risk—both of contracting and transmitting HIV and of worsening its consequences.
No vaccine yet exists to protect a person from getting HIV, and there is no cure. However, HIV can be prevented and its transmission curtailed. Drug abuse treatment fosters both of these goals. HIV medications also help prevent HIV transmission and the progression of HIV to AIDS, greatly prolonging lives.
Drug abuse and addiction have been inextricably linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. The link has to do with heightened risk—both of contracting and transmitting HIV and of worsening its consequences. Learn more
Great progress has been made in reducing the number of new HIV infections and transforming the disease into a manageable and livable condition, but we still have some way to go to achieve an AIDS-free world. Injection drug use is still creating new, local epidemics, and the ways substance use disorders and HIV are intertwined often receive insufficient attention. Worldwide coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services for injection drug users is currently too low. What is needed now are comprehensive, integrated approaches that combine prevention and treatment of HIV and co-infections (such as hepatitis C) with addiction treatment.
Health officials in Indiana have announced a fast-spreading outbreak of new HIV cases in the southeastern portion of the state that are linked to injection drug abuse of the powerful prescription opioid painkiller Opana. Injecting drugs and sharing injection equipment is one of the main routes of transmitting HIV. Also, a few new HIV cases in southeastern Indiana were transmitted sexually.