The combination of crack, the AIDS virus and a sharp rise in the syphilis rate is leading experts to fear that AIDS is increasingly spreading in the nation's poorest neighborhoods through heterosexual contact, as it has in the epidemic in Africa. As a result, health experts are calling for a new and urgent strategy to combat AIDS: immediate programs to fight syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Crack appears to stimulate pathological levels of sexual activity.
The human immunodeficiency virus HIV targets the immune system and weakens people's defence systems against infections and some types of cancer. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. Immune function is typically measured by CD4 cell count.
Using drugs affects your brain, alters your judgment, and lowers your inhibitions. These behaviors can increase your risk of exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And if you inject drugs, you are at risk for getting or transmitting HIV and hepatitis B and C if you share needles or equipment or "works" used to prepare drugs, like cotton, cookers, and water.
HIV is a virus that can multiply quickly in your body and damage your immune system. Your immune system is what allows your body to fight off infections and cancers. Without treatment, HIV can make your immune system very weak.
The result, AIDS experts say, is that in cities across Europe, HIV is spreading rapidly among men who have sex with men - leading to concentrated epidemics in hard-to-reach groups. Chemsex is characterized by the use of drugs such as crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, to enhance sexual arousal, performance and pleasure. But progress is stalling and the epidemic is tightening its grip in key groups.
People who engage in drug use or high-risk behaviors associated with drug use put themselves at risk for contracting or transmitting viral infections such as human immunodeficiency virus HIVacquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDSor hepatitis. This is because viruses spread through blood or other body fluids. It happens primarily in two ways: 1 when people inject drugs and share needles or other drug equipment and 2 when drugs impair judgment and people have unprotected sex with an infected partner.
The amount of HIV in your body fluids is called your viral load. Effective HIV treatment antiretroviral therapy suppresses the amount of HIV in your body fluids to the point where standard tests are unable to detect any HIV, or can only find a tiny trace. Having an undetectable viral load does not mean you are cured of HIV.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a retrovirus that infects cells of the human immune system mainly CD4-positive T-cells and macrophages—key components of the cellular immune system and destroys or impairs their function. Infection with this virus results in the progressive depletion of the immune system, leading to immunodeficiency.
This is because the needles, syringes, or other injection equipment may have blood in them, and blood can carry HIV. HIV can survive in a used syringe for up to 42 days, depending on temperature and other factors. Substance use disorder can also increase the risk of getting HIV through sex. When people are under the influence of substances, they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as having anal or vaginal sex without protection like a condom or medicine to prevent or treat HIVhaving sex with multiple partners, or trading sex for money or drugs.