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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Archival Content: 1999-2005

Training Doing the Work

Why Is Substance Abuse Treatment Important in HIV Prevention?

Substance abuse treatment is an important HIV prevention strategy for many reasons:

  • Early substance abuse treatment may be able to prevent some users from beginning to inject.
  • For those who already inject, treatment can help them reduce or stop injecting. In either case, substance abuse treatment can reduce the chances of blood-borne HIV and hepatitis B and C transmission.
  • High-risk drug practices and high-risk sexual behaviors (such as not using condoms) are often linked because drugs can make users feel less inhibited. Some users also trade sex for drugs or money to buy drugs. By reducing drug use, substance abuse treatment can also help reduce high-risk sexual behaviors.
  • Treatment is a good setting for reaching IDUs and their partners with HIV prevention and care messages and interventions. It also can be a bridge to other needed services, such as primary health care, mental health, or other social services.

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