Drug abuse itself is high-risk behavior. Not only do drugs increase the risk for occurrences like overdoses, but there are other consequences associated with drug use. Those that engage in drug abuse are commonly also engaging in other high-risk behaviors–one of these behaviors include either contracting or transmitting viral infections. The most notable being Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Another viral infection that is common among drug abusers is hepatitis.

These conditions are all viral and they are easily spread through bodily fluids. The main conduit for which these viruses infect drug users are:

  1. Injection of drugs through dirty needles
  2. Unprotected sex with a partner who has the infection

The Centers for Disease Control indicates that 1 out of 10 HIV diagnoses is a direct result of drug injections. During the year 2016, over 20% of males contracted HIV from dirty and shared needles used to inject drugs. That same year, over 21% of females contracted HIV in the same way. With those women who contract the virus, should they get pregnant, they can pass the disease to their child at birth and if they nurse, they can also pass it through breast milk. 

Understanding HIV/AIDS

When one contracts HIV their immune system becomes significantly compromised. The immune cells, the CD4 cells (T cells) which are the body’s way to fight infection, have their numbers lowered which ultimately lowers the body’s natural defenses against illness. After the progression of the virus is complete, AIDS results which is the phase of the infection where the body becomes completely unable to stop any diseases from attacking.  

Healthy immune systems have a T cell count that ranges between 500 to 1,600. When an individual is technically diagnosed with AIDS, their T cell count falls below 200. There are over 1 million Americans that live each day with HIV infection and many more, approximately more than 160,000 do not know they are infected. The good news is that HIV infection does not necessarily lead to the final progression of AIDS. While there is no cure, recent technology advances have developed medicines that can successfully halt HIV progression and transmission. 

Understanding Hepatitis

Hepatitis is defined as an inflammation of the liver that transpires through a family of viruses including A, B, C, D, and E.

  • Hepatitis A is highly contagious and is often contracted through contaminated food water. The majority of cases recover without significant liver damage.
  • Hepatitis B is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood or semen. Infected needles, unprotected sex, and mothers can transmit it to babies at birth. Mild cases can cause short-term illness while more severe cases can result in a chronic infection that can lead to the development of liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. There is a vaccination for hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage and it often goes undetected because it is associated with few symptoms. It is spread through body fluids.
  • Hepatitis D causes extreme swelling in the liver that can lead to long-term damage including scarring as well as cancer. It tends to be rare in the U.S.
  • Hepatitis E will not cause chronic infection and it is primarily transmitted through water and food which is contaminated with infected fecal matter. There is no vaccine.

Drug Use And Viral Infections

Breaking Down the Relationship Between Drug Use And Viral InfectionsHIV alone is a difficult and challenging infection to overcome. Drug users who are infected tend to have worsened symptoms and suffer increased progression of the virus particularly in the brain. The combination of drugs with HIV increases brain nerve cell injury which leads to learning and thinking issues. Alcohol abuse in combination with hepatitis will escalate the progression of liver damage.

Discovery Place is a medical detox and addiction alternative treatment center located in the beautiful countryside of Tennessee. Our 12-step approach can help you safely beat your addiction.

Discovery Place’s Tennessee addiction alternative treatment center is staffed with a caring and knowledgeable team of professionals committed to helping you get healthy again. You can call our Tennessee detox alternative treatment center at 1-800-725-0922 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for questions and support.

Testimonials

  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
    Alumni
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
    Alumni
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
    Alumni
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham
    Alumni

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