Good, Bad HIV News About Injection Drug Users

Fewer injection drugs users are infected with HIV, but they're also less likely to have been tested for the virus, according to CDC data.

Interviews and tests in 2009 by the agency's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System showed that 9% of that year's new infections occurred among injection drug users, the CDC reported in the March 2 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

That's down from 12% the last time the system surveyed drug users in 2006.

In 2009, investigators interviewed and tested 10,073 injection drug users in 20 metropolitan statistical areas across the U.S. and found that -- of the 9,565 whose HIV status was negative or unknown before the survey -- only 49% reported being tested within the previous year. That is also down from 2006, when 66.3% reported being tested.

Another change for the worse was that just 19% of the 2009 participants reported taking part in a behavioral intervention aimed at reducing their risk of HIV -- down from 29.7% in 2006.

The surveillance system, established in 2003, is intended to assess trends in HIV risk behaviors, testing, and HIV prevention services among injection drug users, men who have sex with men, and heterosexuals.

The data are collected about once every three years from each of the three groups.

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Source: MedPage Today

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