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STUDY: Hospitalized People With HIV More Likely to be Recreational Drug Users

HIV positive patients are more likely to be rec drug users

A new study shows that nearly 40 percent of HIV-positive people admitted for in-patient care are also recreational drug users. 

Research has shown that recreation drug use is highly prevalent with HIV-positive people that were admitted to in-patient care at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. 

According to a report published in HIV Medicine, nearly 40 percent of HIV-positive people admitted at the hospital between 2014 and early 2015 reported to have done recreational drugs fairly recently. 

Researchers studied the cases of 59 HIV-positive people and 48 controlled patients.  Of the HIV-positive number, 70 percent admitted to a history of recreational drug use in comparison to 29 percent controls. The facts were supported by drug tests admitted by doctors. 

For those patients who admitted to have been recent recreational drug users (26 cases), half of them reported having chemsex and nine reported injection drug use.

Those living with HIV were also more likely to have hepatitis C: 22 percent vs. zero. 

Another discovery is that HIV-positive recreational drug users were less likely to be on antiretroviral therapies than non-users. They also had poorer adherence to taking HIV meds while doing recreational drugs.  

“This is the first published report describing recreational drug use among HIV-infected in-patients,” researchers wrote. “This data are important, as the UK has seen growing and changing trends in substance misuse and its consequences among people living with HIV in the last 10 years. A structured approach to identifying recreational drug use among HIV-infected in-patients is highly recommended. We recommend that multidisciplinary clinicians routinely and systematically enquire about recreational drug use on admission of HIV-infected in-patients, through a tailored pro-forma, for instance.”


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