HIV and Injectable Drugs
HIV and Injectable Drugs
HIV and Injectable Drugs. For many years, injectable drugs have been used as an alternative to oral medications. For some, it’s the easiest way of administering treatment; however, it becomes a risky action if it already involves recreational drugs.
Besides unprotected sexual activity, injectable drugs also increase the risk of HIV transmission. According to statistics, people who inject drugs are 35 times more susceptible to acquiring HIV than those who take drugs orally or through inhalation. In a new report, 10% of new HIV cases in the year 2021 are from drug injections. The prevalence of HIV transmission through injectable drugs is a serious case that everyone should pay attention to.
Why do people who use injectable drugs are at high risk of HIV?
Shared needles can transmit HIV. This usually occurs in injecting recreational drugs. For example, an HIV-positive person uses a needle and syringe to inject a particular medicine. Little did people know that the infected blood could stay on the device. Transmission occurs when someone else uses the same device, enabling the virus to enter their body and start its infectious effects.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), HIV can survive in a used syringe for about 42 days. However, this also depends on some factors, like the surrounding temperature. If a person uses an unsterilized or contaminated needle, transmission is inevitable.
Aside from shared needles and syringes, substance use through injections can lead to unprotected sex. While under the influence of drugs or substances, people tend to engage in risky sexual activities. It includes participating in anal or vaginal sex without protection, such as condoms or medications to prevent or treat HIV. The risk is also high when having multiple partners or trading sexual pleasure for drugs.
How to prevent HIV from using injection drugs?
The following will help you prevent HIV acquisition or transmission if you keep using injectable drugs:
- Only use new and sterile needles. You can avail of new needles from pharmacies without worrying about a prescription.
- Avoid sharing needles or syringes with other people.
- Before injecting, ensure you clean your skin with an alcohol swab.
- Avoid getting into contact with someone else’s blood, especially in needles.
- After using a needle or syringe, dispose of it safely.
- Get yourself tested for HIV.
- Ask your healthcare professional about using PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This medication is essential in preventing HIV transmission.