Sharing Needles and STDsAccording to AIDS.gov, drugs that are injected into the body with a needle account for roughly 10 percent of HIV cases each year. Since individuals who abuse drugs may use the same needle as other individuals who are using the substance, the STD can be transmitted to the individual through the needle.The risk of developing an STD or any other infection that is transmitted through the blood can increase when an individual is sharing needles. The Mayo Clinic explains that sharing needles can cause several serious infections and that an individual can transmit the STD through sexual activity after he or she is infected with the STD.
Risky Sexual BehaviorsThe University of California at San Francisco says that individuals may engage in risky sexual behaviors when they are abusing drugs or alcohol. The substance may impair an individual’s ability to assess the risks and they may engage in sexual activity without the use of appropriate protection.An individual’s ability to judge a situation or avoid certain risks can decrease when he or she is using a drug. Some individuals may engage in sexual activity without the use of a condom or may engage in sexual behaviors with multiple partners after using a drug or alcohol. The Mayo Clinic says that the risk of exposure to STDs and STIs can increase when an individual has multiple partners.
Trading Sexual Activity for DrugsAccording to AIDS.gov, transactional sexual activity can contribute to the higher risk of developing an STD after abusing drugs. Individuals who are addicted to a substance may trade sex or sexual behaviors for the substance or money to obtain the substance. As a result, the individual may be exposed to a greater number of STDs and STIs when compared to individuals who are not engaging in the same behaviors.
Reducing the RisksAbusing drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of developing a STD or STI, but there are ways to prevent the spread of STDs. The primary way that it is possible to reduce the risk is by discontinuing the abuse of drugs or alcohol.A professional treatment program can make it possible to start working toward a healthier future and avoid the drug that was previously abused. When individuals are no longer abusing drugs, they are not sharing needles or engaging in the same risky behaviors.Engaging in safe sexual practices can also help reduce the risk of developing an STD. Individuals who are sexually active should use condoms or take other measures to reduce the risk of developing an STD.Although substance abuse will not always cause the development of a STD, there are factors that can increase the risk when an individual is abusing a drug or alcohol. If you or a loved one is using a drug, then it may be time to seek professional help to stop the substance and reduce the risk of serious health concerns.
Sources http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Prevalence%20of%20STDs%20among%20Drug%20Abusers.pdf http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/reduce-your-risk/substance-abuse-use/ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/basics/risk-factors/con-20034128 http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/hiv?page=basics-00-16
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