IV drugs and HIV
The U. S. Department of Health reports that sharing needles or syringes with an infected person is the easiest way to be infected with HIV and other germs. Consider these facts:
• Sharing needles to inject drugs is the most dangerous form of needle sharing. 1
• Sharing other types of needles also may transmit HIV and other germs. These types of needles include those used to inject steroids and those used for tattooing or piercing. 2
• Blood from an infected person can remain in or on a needle or syringe and then be transferred directly into the next person who uses it. 3
• More than one-third of all AIDS deaths in the U. S. have occurred among injecting drug users and their sexual partners. AIDS among this group is a major cause of illicit drug-related deaths, with a disproportionate impact on minority Americans. 4
• People who have sex with an injection drug user (IDU) also are at risk for infection through the sexual transmission of HIV. 5
• Children born to mothers who contracted HIV through sharing needles or having sex with an IDU may become infected as well. 6
• Since the epidemic began, 57 percent of all AIDS cases among women have been attributed to injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs. 7
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1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1994. AIDS prevention guide: The facts about HIV infection and AIDS - Putting the facts to use (OHA 8/94 D458). Rockville, MD: CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse.
4. Substance Abuse: The Nation's Number One Health Problem, February 2001.
5. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
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