The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and intravenous drug abuse

R. J. Battjes, C. G. Leukefeld, R. W. Pickens, H. W. Haverkos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Intravenous drug abusers constitute 25 per cent of the cases of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in adults in the United States of America and 21 per cent of such cases in Europe. The potential for the rapid spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among intravenous drug abusers exists because such drug abusers commonly share drug injection equipment. The heterosexual and perinatal spread of AIDS is also largely associated with intravenous drug abusers, and drug abusers have been identified as a major vector for the spread of the AIDS epidemic as it is associated with intravenous drug abuse. As long as intravenous drug abusers are addicted, they will continue to be at risk of contracting AIDS. Thus, the primary AIDS prevention strategy must be to help addicts to stop using drugs. It is suggested that drug abuse treatment resources should be expanded and outreach programmes developed to encourage more intravenous drug abusers to enter treatment. AIDS risk-reduction counselling must also be provided to intravenous drug abusers who continue injecting drugs, and to addicts and their sexual partners to prevent the sexual spread of HIV. Vigorous AIDS prevention initiatives must be undertaken now, using the most promising intervention strategies, while simultaneously evaluating and refining these strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin on Narcotics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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