(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) There are important parallels between the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the current epidemic of opioid addiction - ones that could trigger a significant shift in opioid addiction prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
These are the findings of a comparative review of HIV/AIDS and addiction by researchers Josiah D. Rich, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, based at The Miriam Hospital; Traci C. Green, Ph.D., MSc, Department of Emergency Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; and lead author Sarah E. Wakeman, M.D., Department of Medicine and Center for Community Health Improvement, Massachusetts General Hospital. The paper is published online in advance of print in the American Journal of Medicine.
"Deaths documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been on the rise, and that profile bears a striking resemblance to the beginning stages of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic," said Rich. "There are lessons learned from the HIV/AIDS epidemic that should be heeded and should drive a parallel response to today's crisis: addiction."
In the paper, "From Documenting Death to Comprehensive Care: Applying Lessons from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic to Addiction," researchers detail how the HIV/AIDS epidemic spurred a novel public health approach centered on human rights. That included biomedical breakthroughs and life-saving treatment, and community advocacy and activism played key roles. Fast forward 30 years and the global response to HIV/AIDS has attracted an unprecedented commitment of resources and international aid, and there are predictions for its end. Researchers assert that a parallel response is needed in response to the epidemic of addiction.
Similar to HIV/AIDS, many
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