Intravenous drug users and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
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Intravenous drug users and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

  • 1984 Mar-Apr

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 99(2):206-212
Filetype[PDF-1.25 MB]

  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a new epidemic disease characterized by dysfunction of cellular immunity, is most common among homosexual and bisexual males with multiple sexual partners and users of intravenous drugs. AIDS appears to be spread by contact with blood products and body fluids. Not only is the heroin user at increased risk of contracting AIDS, but also the occasional recreational drug user who shares a needle and syringe when he or she self-administers cocaine or amphetamines at a party on a weekend. Although precise figures are not available, there may be as many as several million recreational and regular users of cocaine and heroin. Data from a national sample of drug abuse treatment programs indicates that more than 80 percent of all clients seeking treatment, whatever their primary drug of abuse at the time of admission to treatment, have administered drugs to themselves intravenously during the year before treatment. Several hundred thousand treatment episodes occur each year. Data from surveys indicate that drug users entering treatment are well aware of the increased risks associated with AIDS. It is not surprising that treatment staff, also, have expressed concerns about their own susceptibility to the disease. Special education programs for these health workers have been instituted in New York City and have met with success. These programs have provided information and reassurance to treatment providers. At present, no health worker providing direct treatment service to drug abusers with a history of intravenous drug use has contracted AIDS.
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