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HIV or AIDS

HIV/AIDS

Explores the link between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS and discusses treatment options, populations most at risk, and trends in HIV/AIDS and what to do to counter these trends.

Published: March 2006
Revised: July 2012

HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse: Intertwined Epidemics

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.

HIV/AIDS

Brief Description

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

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

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.

Journal issue explores early interventions to prevent risky sexual behaviors related to HIV/AIDS

A special issue of the journal Prevention Science spotlights six NIDA-funded early interventions (delivered prior to the onset of adolescence) that successfully reduced later health-risking sexual behaviors related to HIV/AIDS.


National HIV Testing Day, June 27, 2014

Transmission of HIV continues at an unacceptably high rate, and drug use plays an important role—both through exposure to infected body fluids among injection drug users and through the lowered inhibition and risky sexual behaviors that all forms of drug use facilitate. Almost 1.1 million Americans are currently living with the HIV virus, and nearly a sixth of those don’t even know they are infected. That means they aren’t getting needed treatment, and it means they could be passing the infection on to others without knowing.

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.

Study: Treat Jail Detainees’ Drug Abuse To Lower HIV Transmission

Active drug use before incarceration was associated with decreased engagement in HIV treatment among HIV-infected jail detainees. The severity of drug dependence correlated with worsening measures of engagement in HIV treatment. The study concludes that evidence-based treatment for drug abuse in jails may result in improved HIV treatment outcomes, which in turn could help slow HIV-transmission rates in the United States.

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