Sunday, March 4, 2012

HIV Infection Rate Down Amongst IV Drug Users In United States

Felt this was relevant considering we've talked a lot about HIV testing and infection rates during class and in the pset.

The CDC announced the results of a survey conducted in 2009 among 10,000 individuals from major urban areas that concluded that the rate of HIV infection among intravenous drug users (IDUs) fell from 18 to 9 percent as compared to 1990s. While this appears to be solid progress in the fight against HIV, the CDC cautions that the report also indicates several negative signs as well. The study shows a significant decline in testing rates(to 49%) and knowledge of one's seropositive status( half of those infected didn't know they were infected) and a large rate of high-risk behaviors such as needle-sharing(1/3 participated), unprotected sex(the majority), and multiple sex partners.

This study comes at an interesting time in our class since it's implications forces us to think about the complexities of epidemiology, especially with such a life-long infection and in these high-risk populations. Does this report mark a step forward due to the fall in prevalence, or a lack of gain/step back due to the decrease in testing and the perpetuation of high-risk behaviors that guarantee high incidence?

-Zachary Herrera

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