Serenity Rehab Observes World AIDS Day and Discusses Link Between Addiction and HIV

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In honor of World AIDS Day, Serenity promotes an understanding of addiction-related risk of HIV infection.

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Substance abuse can cause an individual to engage in risky behavior, such as unprotected sex.

Thirty-five years ago, the reports were first released of the disease that would become known as AIDS. Since that time, we have learned much about the disease and its preceding infection, HIV, and evolved treatment methods where an infected individual lives as long and with similar quality of life to an uninfected individual. Still, among individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders, certain risk factors remain. In light of such risks, Serenity Recovery Center wishes to educate communities about prevention and effective treatment for addiction.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) results from an HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection. HIV prevents the immune system from functioning effectively, which is why it is sometimes said that someone does not “die from AIDS,” rather an infection or other disease contracted because of the HIV infection.

To date, HIV/AIDS have caused more than 35 million deaths. The two biggest “breakthroughs,” which have contributed to steep improvement in statistics: widespread screening in at-risk communities and the advent of antiretroviral therapy. When communities are educated about risk of HIV and screening measures are put in place, there is a better chance of isolating HIV cases, treating affected individuals, and decreasing new incidents.

While many Americans know that intravenous drug uses contributes to risk of spreading HIV (through needle-sharing), what is less known is the increased risk among all drug users of contracting HIV. Substance abuse can cause an individual to engage in risky behavior, such as unprotected sex. Additionally, “transaction sex,” when an individual trades sexual activity for rent, drugs, or other commodities, may result in an infection.

Widespread screening of at-risk individuals, combined with education about treatment and prevention, stands the best chance of decreasing the spread of HIV in our communities. Unfortunately, for many at-risk individuals, fear and stigma prevent access to screening and treatment.

HIV is a community health concern. Like addiction, the cost for treatment and lost productivity impacts the entire community. By working together to raise awareness and providing access for those who need it, this will not only decrease the cost and strain on the economy and the healthcare system, but also improve the lives of many families in the community.

To learn more, or to get help for yourself or a loved one, call 1-855-218-3775 or visit the Serenity Recovery website: http://www.serenityrehab.org

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Derry Hallmark
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