HIV/AIDS and Addiction Treatment
Addiction and alcoholism often leaves the addict or alcoholic susceptible to risky behavior that can make someone prone to contracting the disease of HIV/AIDS. Many addiction treatment centers and counselors understand the unique needs of client who’s HIV-positive.
Substance Abuse, Addiction and HIV AIDS
Substance abuse and addiction have been associated with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or Aids (acquired immune deficiency disorder) since the virus was discovered in the 1970s. When it comes to the development of HIV or AIDS addiction has played a role in many aspects.
Addicts and IV drug users have a very high risk of contracting or transmission of HIV. Once a person is diagnosed, substance abuse often makes the symptoms of the existing infection even worse.
To contract HIV, you must have a form of interaction with the fluids within the body carrying the virus. Direct injection or damaged tissue are the most common ways of contracting the disease.
The most common ways of contracting the virus is through unsafe or risky sexual activity. People who’re abusing drugs and alcohol are more likely to engage in dangerous sexual behavior like unprotected sex with people who may be carrying the virus. IV drug use and the sharing of needles are the second most common way HIV is transmitted among those struggling with drug addiction. Syringe sharing is very common among meth users and heroin users.
How does HIV or AIDS develop?
Once a person has contracted the HIV virus, it attacks their immune system by a cell infection in the body, which will cause the cells to be resistant to any form of treatment. The cells turn into little virus spreading machines that overtakes the healthy cells in the body.
If you leave the HIV untreated it can cause the immune deficiency syndrome, or HIV AIDS. HIV AIDS will weaken the body’s ability to fight off disease or infection. Although HIV doesn’t guarantee you’ll get AIDS, It is the final stage of the infection of HIV.
When you abuse drugs and alcohol, it makes the symptoms of HIV worse. Substance abuse will compromise the immune system that is targeted by HIV. Drug Abuse will cause a greater cognitive impairment and risk for cellular injury. Drug and alcohol abuse will progress the disease quicker with a higher rate of injury to the immune system.
HIV and AIDS Symptoms
HIV symptoms vary depending on the individual and the stages of the disease that the infected person has occurring. Getting tested is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis.
The same symptoms will not be existent in all individuals. Most people infected with the virus will develop flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks after the infection occurs. Some, however, will not display any symptoms.
HIV/AIDS symptoms may include:
· Night sweats
· Muscle aches
|· Sore throat|
· Swollen lymph nodes
· Mouth ulcers
The symptoms have a lifespan from a few days to several weeks or months. The early stage of the disease, the virus could not show up on a test. However, those with HIV are highly contagious and can spread infection in the early stages of infection.
If a person has concerns about being exposed to HIV, getting tested is the best action to take. Most tests have abilities to detect antibodies very early on. Antibodies are proteins the body develops in reaction to fight the infection of HIV. It can take a few weeks for a test to detect the antibodies. The best practice is to be tested every three months if you believe there’s been a possible infection.
The Treatment of HIV and AIDS
There is still a stigma that surrounds the disease, despite increased awareness and treatment options over the last few decades. There are several counseling options to help people cope with a positive diagnosis of HIV or AIDS. It’s important that one who’s been diagnosed with the disease to find a qualified therapist to aid them in the healing process. This enables the person to find peace during the treatment of the disease.
If you’ve been infected with the disease of HIV or AIDS, it’s important that one work on their substance abuse or addiction problem for the better of their treatment of HIV or AIDS. Our addiction treatment program assists with those who have HIV or AIDS and addiction or alcoholism. We help our clients learn how to live a healthy lifestyle along with a new path of recovery without drugs and alcohol. A person infected with the disease will have a decrease in the HIV’s progression and learn to live a happy healthy life.
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- Center For Disease Control And Prevention. (2015). About HIV/AIDS. Retrieved on April 5, 2016, from: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html
- AIDS.gov. (2015). Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Retrieved on April 5, 2016, from: https://www.aids.gov
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). DrugFacts: HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse: Intertwined Epidemics. Retrieved on April 5, 2016, from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hivaids-drug-abuse-intertwined-epidemics
About the Writer, Peter D.
Peter Dimaira is the online researcher and writer for Bright Futures Recovery Center. Peter has years of experience in journalism and joined the Bright Futures team to spread awareness about addiction, alcoholism and provide better resources on the treatment of drugs and alcohol.