Addiction and HIV: A Dangerous Tandem

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We’re now putting the spotlight on HIV and how it is linked to substance addiction.

Attention on HIV (or Human Immunodeficiency  Virus) has been revived anew since the recent revelation of controversial actor Charlie Sheen about him being HIV-positive. Many of his friends have urged him to come out amid rumors and in order to somehow erase the stigma surrounding this disease.

substance-abuse-and-hiv
Photo credits: http://www.aids.gov

Sheen has been known to be in and out of rehab during the past years and his lifestyle has also caused him to be notorious for his cocaine addiction and his string of women and escorts.

This revelation now puts a spotlight on HIV and how it is linked to substance addiction.

But first, what is HIV?

HIV is a disease caused by a virus, ultimately leading to AIDS. This disease destroys certain white blood cells that are essential in our immune system’s role in warding off infections. AIDS occurs when most of the white blood cells become destroyed by HIV, resulting in the failure of the immune system.

While there has many medical advances that suppresses HIV before it advances to AIDS, it still requires arduous and intensive treatment. Unfortunately, though, there is no cure for someone infected with HIV or AIDS.

HIV is contracted via the transmission of body fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. These fluids carry the virus and enter the body through broken skin, mucous membranes, and are commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse. It can also be contracted through tainted surgical procedures or sharing of needles with an infected person.

HIV can also be contracted from mother to baby through blood exchange between mother and fetus during delivery and through breast milk.

Please note that one CANNOT get HIV through casual contact or touching, sharing meals, holding hands, or simply talking to someone with HIV.

HIV and Addiction

Drug and alcohol abuse is a disease of compulsion, and as such, also promotes risky behaviors that include promiscuity and unprotected sex with various partners and strangers. Often, they exercise poor judgement, that is why the risk of HIV infection is higher in alcoholics and drug addicts.

Poor judgment while under the influence, as well as decrease in inhibition and increase in sexual desire caused by drugs and alcohol can lead to higher risk of unprotected sex and less care for hygiene and medical care, as compared to someone who is sober.

There is also increased risk for those who use drugs intravenously, as sharing unsterilized needles with an HIV-infected person can cause the transmission. Sharing straws to snort drugs can also transmit HIV as well as Hepatitis C. Furthermore, active addiction can also further deteriorate the immune system, making one prone to many diseases.

Aside from infections and nutritional deficiencies, a person infected with HIV will have problems when it comes to the brain’s functions, causing AIDS Dementia Complex. This complex causes:

  • changed in speech patterns
  • slurred speech or incoherent speech
  • slowed thinking
  • slow reflexes
  • difficulty to speak clearly and find words to express oneself
  • inability to focus
  • confusion
  • forgetfulness.

To treat someone with addiction and HIV/AIDS, special care and treatment is necessary. The medical issues, psychiatric needs, and addiction problems must be treated hand in hand.

If you are addicted and are engaging in risky behaviors mentioned above, have yourself tested.


 

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and are battling with HIV?AIDS or suspect yourself as having contracted the disease, but are afraid to talk about it, reach out to us through our confidential lines. We will help you find the treatment that you need. Please don’t let your shame or fear stop you from getting help.

Call or Text:

09175098826 / 622-0193

 

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