HIV Increasing In Drug Users

A new study in the United Kingdom revealed that there is an increase in HIV infection among injecting drug users as well as an increase in the sharing of syringes.

These results echo the findings of another study published a year ago in the British Medical Journal, which found that HIV and Hepatitis C rates are increasing amongst injecting drug users in the United Kingdom.

Nearly half or 44 per cent of injecting drug users under the age of 30 are already infected with Hepatitis C and 4 per cent of injecting drug users are infected with HIV.

(Source: HIV Prevalence Among Injecting Drug Users in England & Wales 1990 to 2003. Hope VD et al. AIDS 19:1207-14, 2005)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

Like the United Kingdom, Australian advocates of syringe distribution programs argue that distributing syringes reduces blood borne disease in illicit drug users.

However, the evidence from overseas is that disease is spreading amongst injecting drug users.

The first reason for disease spread is that injecting drug users share syringes and that drug users ignore education programs because they are not rational when seeking to inject.

Secondly medical evidence is that the use of illicit drugs depresses the human immune system so that infections are more likely amongst illicit drug users.

Australia can successfully reduced illicit drug use and therefore the health risks but copying illicit drug policies from overseas where detoxification and rehabilitation are provided to get users drug free.