Drugs and HIV

Drugs are used for several reasons. It may be for fun, to feel euphoric, to get psychedelic, and to detach oneself from the society, out of depression and so on. The most common ways to take drugs are through, smoking, sniffing, rubbing and injecting. Where the others may not carry the risk of transmission of AIDS, sharing drugs with the help of the same needle may lead to it. Those who indulge in this act are called IDUs (Injected drug Users). This section of people is most vulnerable to HIV. IDUs use popular drugs like Cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and heroin. 43% of the American population take heroin with syringe, and often, sharing of it, culminates to AIDS.

Drug Abuse And HIV:

Studies show that today, there are more than 10 million drug users all over the world, with or without HIV. It has been studied that about 30% of the total cases of HIV, are a result of administering drugs with the help of the same drug syringe shared between a HIV patient and a healthy person. This is a non sexual route of transmission of HIV. A syringe should be immediately discarded, if it has been used by an AIDS patient. If the same syringe is used by another healthy person, then, the contaminated needle will surely transfer the infection to him. Other blood borne virus like Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B are also caused due to sharing of the same drug needle. The infected blood directly goes into the bloodstream of the healthy person, as a result of sharing contaminated needles.

Know about Drugs and HIV:

HIV can survive in the same syringe for about a month. It is also suggested not to use ones own syringe more than once, as after the first use, there may be enough possibilities for the growth of bacteria in it, leading to other infection. Therefore, a new needle should be used, every time an injection is administered inside our blood stream.

HIV can also be transmitted by means of accidental needle stick. Many nurses, dispensary assistants, or drug users, accidentally pierce the syringe of a HIV patient into their skin by mistake, and infuse this infection in their body too.

Intake of drugs through needles, not only boosts non sexual transmission of the disease, but also paves the way for sexual transmission. Some of the drugs like marijuana and cocaine lead to high sensibility, and sexual arousal. The HIV positive person under the impact of drugs may indulge in a sexual act, transmitting the disease to a healthy person.

In many Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Yunnan province in China, and northeastern parts of India, the main cause of HIV has been found to be drug addiction, and sharing of needles. Nations like Spain and Italy tops that list in Europe. While in Russia, half the HIV cases has been a result of drug injection. Many Asian countries like Bangkok, where HIV was unknown till the early 90s, became badly infested with the disease, as drug abuse became common.

In many places, needle exchange programs are conducted, for those who cannot buy a new syringe every time. On one hand, this act was strongly criticized, as it indirectly backed up drug addiction. On the other hand, it was supported. In many places like Vancouver and Montreal, it helped in reducing the propagation or the disease through sharing of contaminated needles. So always be careful about drugs and HIV both.

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