Challenges facing health professionals caring for HIV-infected drug users

Joseph Inungu, Eileen Malone Beach, Reid Skeel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although injection drug use accounts for only 5% to 10% of cumulative HIV infections globally, it is a more efficient way of spreading HIV than sexual intercourse. HIV epidemics among injection drug users (IDUs) have a potential for rapid spread of the virus within the IDU community and outward into the general population. Effective interventions addressing this mode of HIV transmission are needed because part of a comprehensive strategy to curb the spread of HIV infection. IDUs, often marginalized, pose serious health challenges that can no longer be overlooked. Health care providers need to familiarize themselves with these challenges in order to meet the needs of this disenfranchised population. Providers need to have a clear understanding of targeted behavior and their patients' environmental context. Efforts must be made to foster healthy behavior among IDUs to assist them in managing their infection effectively and become productive members of society. This paper reviews these challenges and outlines selected models that may assist health care providers in fostering behavior changes among HIV-positive injection drug users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-343
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Patient Care and STDs
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


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