HIV/AIDS and drugs

image of HIV/AIDS and drugs

Globally, sexual transmission of HIV continues to be the most common way the virus is spread, but drug use is contributing to the pandemic in at least four ways. First, the most common and best-researched method of transmission is via the use of contaminated injection equipment among people who inject drugs. Second, there is sexual transmission of the virus between those who inject drugs and their sexual partners. The dual transmission risk in the case of sex workers who also inject drugs leads to epidemics that expand quickly and act as a bridge to the rest of the population. Third, noninjecting use of drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine- type stimulants leads to high-risk sexual behaviour. And finally, HIV can be transmitted from an infected mother - a commercial sex worker, an injecting drug user and/or a sexual partner of a drug user - to her child. While very little systematic information is available on this particular mode of transmission related to drug use, anecdotal examples suggest that this could be a potential entry point for HIV to get into the general population. For example, during 1996–2001, most of the HIV-infected infants in the Russian Federation were born to mothers who were either injecting drug users or sexual partners of injecting drug users.

Related Subject(s): Drugs Crime and Terrorism
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