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Treating Drug Users Cuts Death Rate

Treating Drug Users Cuts Death Rate

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Providing antiretroviral drugs to injection-drug users dramatically slashes the HIV-related death rate in that population by 90%, according to a study in the June issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers say there had been concerns about whether injection-drug users would be able to adhere to complex antiretroviral regimens because of their unstable lives and living arrangements. But researchers at the New York Academy of Medicine followed 665 injection-drug users for up to 14 years, both before and after the introduction of combination therapy, and discovered that providing them with antiretroviral drugs slashed their annual death rate from 15.9% in the era before combination therapy to just 1.2% per year when triple-drug therapy became available. The low death rate signals that the study subjects were properly adhering to their regimens, the researchers conclude.

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