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How are Drug Abuse and HIV Correlated?

Intravenous drug use is one of the ways HIV is being transmitted. People can contract HIV by sharing needles with an infected person. Drugs and alcohol can lower a person’s inhibitions, which puts a person at greater risk for engaging in risky sex.  For this reason, substance abuse and HIV are correlated.

People are much more likely to have sex without using a condom if they are using drugs or alcohol. They are also more liable to have sex with multiple partners. Additionally, some people trade sex for drugs and money. This can also put them at a greater risk of developing HIV.

Factors that Influence Whether a Person will Develop HIV from Intravenous Drug Use

One single shared needle or syringe use will not automatically give a person HIV. There are some factors that determine whether a person will contract HIV from intravenous drug use. One of those factors is the amount of HIV that is in the blood. If there are only small amounts of HIV in the blood, then the person is less likely to acquire an infection.

The amount of blood that is being injected is another factor that influences a person’s risk of developing HIV. If there is a large quantity of blood being injected, then a person’s chance of developing HIV will be much higher.

The Drug Abuse and HIV Outbreak in Indiana

Drug abuse and HIV have become an epidemic in a mostly rural county located in Indiana. There have been nearly 150 cases confirmed in Scott County. All of these cases have been linked to drug use. Experts believe that there are more cases, but many people are refusing to get tested.

Mike Pence, who is the governor of Indiana, has implemented a needle exchange program for the state. However, many places are not running it like they should. It is estimated that over 9,461 needles have been distributed to 223 people ever since the needle exchange program first started. Many individuals who come to the needle exchange program are repeat customers.

Dr. Diane Janowitz works at Indiana University and is an infectious disease expert. She has treated many people with HIV. She says that education is one of the keys to solving the HIV crisis. There are a lot of misconceptions about HIV. For example, many people still believe that HIV is a death sentence. Many people also believe that everyday activities, such as sharing a bathroom can transmit this condition.

However, Dr. Janowitz has stated that HIV is a chronic condition, and it can be managed with the proper treatment. She also says that things, like sharing a bathroom and eating from the same table, do not transmit this condition.
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Preventing HIV

There are many things that people can do to cut their risk of HIV if they are using drugs. Regardless of whether one is using meth, cocaine or another type of drug, people can cut their risk of HIV by quitting. Inpatient rehab programs can help people quit.

People who are still using drugs should not share syringes or needles. They should also not share any equipment that is used to prepare drugs. People should only use drug needles from a syringe exchange program, pharmacy or another reliable source. One should throw away the needles after using them.

People who are sexually active should make sure that they practice safe sex. Wearing condoms and limiting one’s sex partners will help cut infection risk. Furthermore, regular HIV testing is extremely important. This is the only way that one can know for sure whether he or she has the infection.

2015 HIV and AIDS Awareness Days

Information on the Indiana HIV Outbreak

If you would like more information on drug abuse and HIV, follow the links provided, or you can call our toll-free number today and talk with one of our staff.

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