“Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link” is the message of a new public
awareness campaign announced November 29, 2005, by the National Institute on
Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health.
“Drug abuse prevention is HIV prevention,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “Research
has shown that a significant proportion of young people are not concerned about
becoming infected with HIV. In recent years, the number of young people in the
United States diagnosed with AIDS rose substantially. Because drug use encourages
risky behaviors that can promote HIV transmission, NIDA views drug abuse treatment
as essential HIV prevention.”
While research has shown that a large proportion of young people are not concerned
about becoming infected with HIV, the reality is that there exists a very real
danger for those engaged in risky behaviors. In addition, minority populations
are disproportionately affected by the health consequences of drug abuse and
HIV. For example, in 2004, black and Hispanic women represented about 25 percent
of all U.S. women, yet they accounted for more than 80 percent of AIDS cases
diagnosed in women that year. African-Americans, while they make up just 12 percent
of the population, accounted for approximately half of the total AIDS cases diagnosed
NIDA and partnering organizations — including the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families,
and the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation — are working together
to get this important message about the link between drug abuse and HIV to teens
and young adults.
In addition to public service announcements distributed to television stations
across the country, NIDA has launched a website, www.hiv.drugabuse.gov that provides
the latest scientific findings on the relationship between drug abuse and HIV.
One item on the Institute’s new website is its recently released HIV/AIDS Research
Report which provides an overview of the latest NIDA-supported research into
the multiple ways in which drugs of abuse contribute to the spread of HIV.
For example, the Research Report notes that studies supported by NIDA
already have shown that drug abuse can interfere with the efficacy of highly
active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a treatment that can greatly extend the
lives of people infected with HIV. Other research has shown that HIV can continue
to replicate in people who abuse methamphetamine, despite taking HAART as prescribed.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes
of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most
of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction.
The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination
of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact
sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research
and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.