HIV Diagnoses Rise Among Intravenous Drug Users
July 11, 2003
The number of new HIV cases among intravenous drug users in the United States rose in 2000, halting five years of steady declines, according to a federal study released on Thursday. Data collected by CDC from 25 states revealed that 2,514 people who injected drugs had been diagnosed with HIV in 2000. That figure was 5 percent higher than in 1999, though considerably lower than the 4,226 infections reported in 1994.Adapted from:
People who inject drugs and their sex partners represent about one-third of all those who have been infected with HIV in the United States since 1981. CDC said more data is needed before researchers could conclude that AIDS was poised for a comeback among intravenous drug users, one of the groups at highest risk for HIV infection.
Tanya Sharpe, a behavioral scientist and an AIDS expert at CDC, said the increase in diagnoses could have resulted from expanded HIV testing or a change in risk behavior among intravenous drug users. "It could be that some of the prevention messages have lost their fervor in the communities and the advances in antiretroviral drug treatment may have lulled some people into a false sense of security," Sharpe said.
As many as 30 percent of the estimated 850,000 to 950,000 people living with HIV in the United States do not know that they are infected. About 16,000 Americans die each year from AIDS, and another 40,000 become infected with HIV. CDCs strategy is to make HIV testing more common to increase the proportion of HIV-infected persons who are aware that they have the virus from 70 percent to 95 percent by 2005.
The study, "HIV Diagnoses Among Injection-Drug Users in States With HIV Surveillance -- 25 States, 1994-2000," is published in the current edition of CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2003;52(27):634-636).
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.