How Drug Abuse Increases Risk of HIV/AIDS

Ever since the first outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, the epidemic has been linked with drug abuse and addiction. Since HIV is a blood-borne disease, sharing needles when injecting drugs is known to be a leading cause of infection. Less well known is the fact that drug abuse can lead to risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, another leading cause of HIV is transmission. Drug abuse can affect judgment and lower inhibitions, causing drug abusers to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors including unprotected sex with multiple partners. People who are addicted to drugs may also agree to risky sex in exchange for drugs or money and may be unable to insist on using condom under the circumstances. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV. About one in five of these people are unaware that they have the infection and may not be taking precautions against spreading it. Nearly one in four cases of AIDS originates with intravenous drug use. Infected blood…

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