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London: HIV Rates Shoot Up Amongst Drug Users

There has been a significant increase in new drug users who have HIV, and currently has recorded a rate so high, unseen in the last ten years. //

This rise in drug users is being attributed to increasing number of people injecting themselves with crack cocaine, according to reports from The Health Protection Agency. HIV infection among injecting drug users did not change much in London but areas outside of London witnessed a six-fold increase. According to 2005 Statistics, 1.6% of drug users in England and Wales are HIV-positive as against one in 100, in the year 2002.

Professor Peter Borriello, director of the HPA's centre for infections, said: "This coincides with a reported increase in more risky behaviors among injecting drug users, as well as a rise in hepatitis C injection.There is also evidence of an increase in the injecting of crack cocaine which has shown to be associated with transmission of blood-born viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.”

Dr Fortune Ncube, who keeps a track of the health of injecting drug users for the agency, said "Necessary steps to achieve this include the provision of enough needles and syringes and available information and practical advice on safer injecting practices, as well as guidance on safe disposal of used equipment."

Therefore, it is imperative that drug education programmes continue to be imparted.


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