How Drug Use Can Increase Your Risk for HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS and drugs, HIV and Substance use disorders,

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a disease known for causing numerous health complications, from liver and heart damage to changes to mental health. Yet, drug use can also expose a person to a much higher risk of developing life-threatening conditions like HIV/AIDS. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that about 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV. It also notes that those with an SUD are at much higher risk for developing HIV for numerous reasons. Understanding this link and the risks you face personally could encourage you to take steps to protect your health and future.

How HIV and Drugs Are Linked

Substance use disorders are cofactors in the development of HIV/AIDS risks among many people. There are various ways this can occur. For example, those with an SUD may be less protective of their health and unable to make good decisions. They may be willing to share a needle with others, which could lead to the transmission of the disease. 

Some drugs also lower inhibition, which can also be a factor in exposure. As addiction develops, a person is motivated to pursue access to that substance at all costs. For some, that may mean engaging in risky behaviors, including sexual behaviors. Impulsive activities and unsafe behaviors are not uncommon within the drug community, and they could cause a person to face exposure to high-risk illnesses.

Many people who develop HIV/AIDS while also struggling with an SUD choose not to get medical treatment because of their addiction. This worsens their chances for recovery and may expose others to the disease as well.

SUDs Worsen HIV/AIDS Outcomes

A person who has contracted HIV/AIDS because of addiction-related reasons may not be aware they have the disease until complications begin to become obvious. Research also shows that drug use and addiction can hasten the progression of HIV.

One reason for this is that drug use may increase viral load within the body. That could mean a more aggressive progression through the stages of illness. For some, it leads to an increased risk of fatality as well.

What Should You Do If You Are At Risk?

If you are struggling with any illness, you need medical care. And if you have a co-occurring addiction, you’ll need addiction treatment as well. At The Ranch at Dove Tree, we offer comprehensive support for SUD, a condition that may require a period of detox to help your body rid itself of the dependency. You can take control of your health, and you can do so with the help of our team with treatment for your addiction.

Reach out to a medical provider if you believe you have been exposed to HIV/AIDS. Ensure you focus on immediate care to slow the progression of that condition.

Set Up a Time to Talk to Our Team About Addiction

Addiction is life-changing. It creates numerous complications in your day-to-day health and puts you at risk for a wide range of health complications, including HIV/AIDS. You do not have to be a victim of it any longer. Contact The Ranch at Dove Tree today to get the care you need to protect your future.