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Prevalence of Substance Abuse

Jul 30, 2006

I am a social work intern and cannot find any statistics or information about the prevalence of substance abuse among clients who are HIV+ or have AIDS. One of the agencies that I have worked with estimates that 85% of their clients actively have AOD problems/issues or have a history of AOD problems/issues. I was wondering if you could provide me with any information regarding this under-served sub-population. Thank you so much!

Response from Dr. Horwath

The prevalence varies widely depending on the population with which you are working. The agency that gave you the 85% figure is probably completely correct about their own clients. Some HIV clinics have very high substance abuse numbers because injection drug use (IDU) and use of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs predisposes users to HIV infection. The risk from IDU is obvious, but other drugs also increase the rsik because users have impaired judgment and are more likely to engage in high risk sexual behavior.

You can find information on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web sites, especially the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) site.

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