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RI Hospital study analyzes link between HIV infection and overdose risk
Date:12/12/2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. A study from Rhode Island Hospital is the first to systematically review and analyze the literature on the association between HIV infection and overdose risk. The findings show a 74 percent greater risk of overdose among drug users if they are HIV-infected. The researchers found that reasons for the increased risk are biological and behavioral, but may also include environmental and structural factors. The study is now available online in advance of print in the journal AIDS.

Drug overdose is a common cause of non-AIDS death among people with HIV and is the leading cause of death for people who inject drugs. People with HIV are often exposed to opioid medication as part of their treatment, while others may continue to use illicit opioids despite their disease status. Both scenarios present a heightened risk for fatal and non-fatal overdose. While the association between HIV infection and injection drug use has been well documented, the potential association between HIV and overdose has received less attention.

With this in mind, Traci Green, Ph.D., M.Sc., a researcher with Rhode Island Hospital and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, led a study to systematically review the literature on the putative association of HIV infection with overdose, meta-analyze the results and explore the causes.

Green reports that 46 studies were reviewed, and 24 of those reported data that were sufficient for inclusion in their analysis. Based on those studies, Green says, "Our results suggest that people who use drugs have a 74 percent greater risk of overdose if they are HIV-infected compared to their counterparts who are not HIV-infected. Over the past 30 years, we have made impressive strides in caring for and prolonging the lives of people with HIV. Our study found that premature death by overdose is an issue that affects people with HIV disproportionately."

"It is not entirely clear why the ris
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Contact: Nancy Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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