Illicit substance abuse is rather common in people with viral infections such as HIV/AIDS. Nearly 50% of the people with HIV/AIDS are reported to have a history of drug abuse disorders. An extensive usage of alcohol or drugs can increase the potential risk for the drug addicts to acquire HIV/AIDS and other fatal infections.
People who indulge in high-risk behaviors that include drug abuse often find themselves exposed to transmission of HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. These viruses can be easily transmitted through blood or body fluids. Using the same needle or indulging in a physical relationship with an infected partner can transmit the virus and lead towards fatal consequences.
What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a form of the virus that infects the body cells responsible for immunity in humans. These cells, also known as CD4, are responsible to defend the body against infections. The T cells in the body diminish as HIV starts spreading in the blood. It gets harder and harder for the infected person to fight against diseases and infections. With the immunity system frail and weak, it becomes easier for the body to get substantially affected by even the smallest illness.
AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is the subsequent and final stage of the HIV infection during which the infected body is unable to defend any disease. The CD4 cell count gets less than 200 once the infected person reaches the stage of AIDS.
According to the statistics offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one million people in the United States live with HIV infection. The alarming fact is that approximately 15% of this infected population is unaware of their condition. This ultimately puts them at deliberate risk to progress towards AIDS. While there are vaccinations to prevent HIV/AIDS, there is no cure to treat the condition.
HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse
The risk of HIV/AIDS acquisition escalates exponentially when it is combined with drug abusive behavior. Drugs, having the tendency to impair a person’s judgment and cognitive clarity, make people engage in risky behaviors which can easily lead them towards dire consequences.
Drugs makes HIV symptoms even worse. With their ability to obscure rational judgment and efficient thinking process, they can encourage the undisrupted entrance of HIV to the brain and cause substantial nerve cell damage. This affects the thinking, learning, and memorizing ability of addicts, and also causes prominent damage to the liver. This is the reason why conditions such as liver infection and cancer are prevalent among people with HBV or HCV infection.
Under the influence of drugs, the only priority for the addicts is to provide their body the dose it is demanding. This compulsion rules out their ability to analyze the risks entailed in the process, and they often share needles to inject drugs. This is the easiest way to transmit HIV and hepatitis from one person to another. Similarly, under the duress of illicit drugs, a person is prone to engage in explicit activities such as unsafe sex which puts them at greater risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.
While HIV consistently weakens the immune system of the victim, abuse of drugs alongside the disease can increase the damage inflicted on the body. The reaction of drugs, the prevalence of harmful bacteria, and the exposure to viral infection can make the victims very sick and even lead to death.
Drug addiction usually demotes every basic need of life and makes drugs acquisition and injection the utmost priority in the addicts’ life. This eventually makes people with drug or alcohol disorder malnourished. With poor nutrition, HIV can work even faster in individuals and make them sick more quickly.
Another potential danger that accompanies HIV and drug abuse is the interaction that may happen between the virus and the abusive drug injected. This impacts the quality of life for the addicts and diverts them towards even worse conditions.
How to Limit Viral Infection from Spreading
As mentioned, there is no cure for infections such as HIV and AIDS. However, they can be curbed and their spreading can be limited if the victims embrace certain measures. These measures include:
Avoiding Drug Use
To decrease the chances of viral infection getting spread, it is important that the infected person ceases engaging in risky behaviors. This is only possible when they are in their right frame of mind and carry out their activities vigilantly. To prevent the acquisition of the infection, it is imperative that they do not use any shared-equipment for injecting drugs.
Getting HIV-Prevention Medication
HIV/AIDS are incurable diseases, but they are preventable. People with a significant risk of attracting viral infections are strongly recommended to take a daily dose of HIV prevention medication which can reduce their possibility to become infected.
Undergo Awareness and Education Programs
There are several training and education programs organized with the purpose of regulating awareness pertinent to drug abuse and the associated risky behaviors. The addicts prone to acquire viral infections should receive counseling and be offered tests to diagnose and prevent such conditions.
HIV/AIDS is a preventable condition. However, it becomes difficult to plan a protection strategy when your cognitive abilities are influenced by illicit substances and alcohol. To lead a quality life without any fatal infections, it is imperative that you have optimum mental and physical health. This is only possible if you choose to battle against your drug abuse behavior.
Arizona Addiction Recovery Center takes pride in offering its clients the best addiction recovery treatment and counseling. We have been making positive differences in the lives of people with addiction history, and have brought them towards better and healthier quality of life.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.
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