|Drug Abuse - HIV/AIDS: A Devastating Combination (UNAIDS - UNDCP, 12 p.)|
In many parts of the world, injecting drug use is fast becoming one of the main modes of HIV transmission. Of the different ways the virus can be transmitted, the most efficient way is to inject HIV directly into the bloodstream - whether with a contaminated needle or through a contaminated blood transfusion.
A CONTAMINATED NEEDLE CARRIES A GREATER RISK OF INFECTION THAN UNPROTECTED SEXUAL INTERCOURSE.
Is AIDS something that only homosexuals and drug users can get?
No. Anyone can get infected with HIV. There is no specific group of people who are the only ones to get AIDS. But you are at risk if you have unprotected sex or share needles.
DRUGS COULD BE THE LAST THING YOU DO.
In Belarus, four out of five registered HIV infections are drug users in their teen and twenties. HIV's potential spread in the drug using community is dangerously high in Eastern Europe. A large number of am syringes an
"At the age of 14 I had friends who tried drugs, so I knew in full detail how drugs are made and used. The very first injection grabbed hold of me and I began to do drugs regularly.
Three years later I went down on a drug charge for the first time and had the full pleasure of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Starting from 1987, I visited funerals of 30-50 close acquaintances and friends who died of drug-related reasons (suicide, overdose, and blood infection).
I got used to death and was no longer afraid to die.
When I first found out I tested HIV-positive, I was wondering how long I had to live. No definite answer was given to me. Now I'm doing my part in a project in my "peer group" and it gives me joy to see that I really help other guys just like myself which brightens my mood. At least for the time being.
I have a message for those who haven't tried this 'crap' yet - it's sticking your head straight into a noose, pure and simple, there's virtually no way out."
In Spain, almost 70 percent of all reported AIDS cases between 1980 and 1997 were due to injecting drug use.
Merche (24) - Spain
"I'm Merche, I am 24 years old, HIV positive, a mother, a friend, an acquaintance, an employee, a house wife and a lot of other things.
My parents were divorced and I lived with my father until I was 9, and after that with my mother. As a child, I was both physically and psychologically abused, and ran away from home several times. I was also abused by a boyfriend as a teenager.
Why did I start taking drugs? Like many young girls do: I met a boy who was already a heroin addict and started experimenting I had a deep-rooted desire for self-destruction at the time. At the age of 17 I was already going to a rehabilitation centre. At the rehabilitation center, my boyfriend found out he was HIV positive - I tested negative. One year later, I was tested again and found I had developed HIV.
I do not feel I have to be ashamed of my infection - I don't want anyone to sentence me to die while I am living. I have been clean since I was 18. I spend some of my time volunteering at the Concordia Center in Marbella - driving to schools around the area and sharing my experiences with others. The future? I have the absurd determination to live. To the kids who are now taking drugs or have AIDS I would like to say: there is still hope - you cannot decide when to die, but you can decide to live. There is always a way out - look for help, ask for help."
WHEN YOU MESS WITH PARTY DRUGS SUCH AS ALCOHOL, ECSTASY, MARIJUANA AND COCAINE, THESE DRUGS MESS WITH YOU. THAT LOSS OF CONTROL COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE - EITHER BECAUSE OF AN OVERDOSE OR BECAUSE UNSAFE SEX CAN LEAD TO HIV.