|NIDA Looks at Non-Injection Drug Use and Spread
CDC estimates 250,000 Americans Unaware they
More than 500 scientists, clinicians and public health specialists
met today at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to discuss
the latest research on drug abuse and the evolving epidemic of
HIV/AIDS. This is the first-ever two-day public meeting at NIH
to include a focus on non-injection drug use and HIV transmission.
The meeting was being held in collaboration with the National Institute
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute
on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
“Approximately one million people in the United States are living
with HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately afflicts minority populations — particularly
African Americans,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, who gave
opening remarks at the meeting. “To address this significant public
health threat, research at NIH is examining every aspect of HIV/AIDS,
drug abuse, and addiction, including the risk behaviors associated
with both injection and non-injection drug abuse, and how drugs
of abuse can alter brain function and impair decision making.”
Participants today heard from leading scientists about how substance
abuse affects HIV/AIDS risk in diverse populations, and of the
importance of designing interventions that address their specific
needs. Today’s session also looked at neuroeconomics — combining
brain imaging and economically-based theories to better explain
and predict decision making; and neuroimaging to predict relapse
to methamphetamine in treated drug abusers. Also discussed were
the importance of combining behavioral therapies, and medication
in drug abuse treatment to reduce HIV risk behaviors as well as
The Tuesday afternoon session covered the risky behavior related
to commonly abused substances like alcohol and marijuana. Scientists
have long recognized that alcohol use is associated with behavior
that places people at risk for sexually transmitted infections,
and similar studies on marijuana use will also be presented. These
studies show that not only is marijuana use associated with risky
sexual behavior, but is also associated with poor medical appointment-keeping
among infected women.
Wednesday’s session — which concludes at noon, will look
at the problem of HIV/AIDS within the Nation’s criminal justice
system, including prisons and jails. The large-scale incarceration
of drug users has resulted in a disproportionate rate of infection
and burden of HIV/AIDS among the prison population, and correctional
facilities have emerged as critical settings for interventions
to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV and other infectious diseases.
The last session of the conference will examine the challenges
of HIV screening, testing and counseling, and prevention strategies
for inmates who are reentering society, given concerns about confidentiality,
stigma, and limited government resources.
A full agenda and speaker list is available at: http://conferences.masimax.com/riskybehaviors/index.cfm.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National
Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects
of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large
variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research
information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact
sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and further information
on NIDA research can be found on the NIDA web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.