Addiction & Transmittable Disease

Drugs and alcohol lower inhibitions; in fact, that’s the reason many individuals turn to them in the first place: to relax, to forget, to escape. Unfortunately, in addition to addiction, substance abuse also dramatically increases risk of contracting STIs, HIV and hepatitis.

Insobriety often leads to situations that a sober person would likely not consent to. Foregoing a condom is much more likely during periods of impaired judgment and lowered inhibitions. This reckless decision can not only lead to contracting STIs, HIV or hepatitis, it can also lead to unintentionally spreading infections and viruses. Not to mention the endless dangerous situations that can occur in the pursuit of a party.

According the Center for Disease Control, 9-12% of new HIV cases and 50% of new hepatitis C cases are associated with injection of illicit drugs.

For those who are impacted by HIV and also abuse alcohol, proper medical treatment is often out of reach. The National Center for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that those who drink to excess will frequently delay getting tested for HIV, and if they do test positive, they may postpone treatment. Being an alcoholic also means that it is more difficult to follow the complex medication regimens required for HIV. Additionally, abusing alcohol does further damage to the liver, impacting the progression of HIV infection.

Hepatitis also poses a health risk for addicts and alcoholics. In particular, drinkers and drug users are more likely to be exposed to hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

How can you avoid contracting one of these infections or viruses? Be informed!

Below are the ways that transmission can occur.

STIs (Herpes, Chlamydia, Syphilis, and more) can be transmitted via:

  • Having sex with an infected person
  • Sharing dirty needles

HIV can be transmitted via:

  • Having sex with an infected person
  • Sharing dirty needles
  • Being in direct contact with infected blood
  • Being in contact with an infected person's body fluids

Hepatitis B can be transmitted via:

  • Having sex with an infected person
  • Sharing dirty needles
  • Being in direct contact with infected blood
  • Being in contact with an infected person's body fluids

Hepatitis C can be transmitted via:

  • Sharing dirty needles
  • Being in direct contact with infected blood
  • Having sex with an infected person (less common)

Clouded judgment from drugs and alcohol often leads to one or all of these behaviors in tandem. Addressing ways to get sober will also mean decreased risk of infection.

Another reason to sober up? In addition to increased risk for transmitted disease, the World Health Organization states that alcohol abuse is the third most harmful risk factor for chronic disease - skyrocketing chances of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and more. The message is clear; a life free from drugs and alcohol means a happier, healthier life.

If you have already contracted an STI, HIV, or Hepatitis, there is help! Organizations like Pat Moore Foundation can offer detox from drugs or alcohol in a safe environment, as well as providing education and proper referrals for medical help. So often solutions are delayed or ignored out of fear: fear of getting sober, fear of being diagnosed with an illness, fear of change.

Arm yourself with knowledge to live the happiest, healthiest life you can! You’re worth it.

Image: Flickr

D'Amore Healthcare works diligently to offer gracious redundancy, treating each other and our patients with unconditional positive regard. We are breaking down those stereotypes and those subconscious patterns. Helping the individual create a new way of living that they are choosing to be proud of.

Our Qualified staff at D’amore Healthcare is here for you. If you have any questions regarding help for yourself or a loved one please contact our admissions department 24 hours a day at 714.375.1110 or fill out the contact form.

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