Substance abuse is the excessive use of a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, which results in clinical and functional impairments.

This loss of function can include detriments to professional, academic, and social interactions. On-going substance abuse can cause severe health problems over time, even in previously healthy individuals. These health complications include increased disease risk, difficulty in detecting and diagnosing certain disease states, a reduced inherent ability to recover from certain diseases, and a decrease in the effectiveness of various treatments.

With regard to HIV and AIDS, substance abuse plays a significant factor in infection and disease progression. Although HIV/AIDS can affect anyone, the risk of infection is significantly higher in patients suffering from substance abuse, whether the risk is of direct exposure through needles or increased likelihood of high risk behavior due to loss of judgment. Substance abuse is of primary concern to HIV/AIDS by promoting actions which increase the initial risk of infection. Furthermore, some abused substances can also influence disease progression and interfere with the effectiveness of treatment.

Some people who are addicted to drugs may trade sex for drugs or more money to get more drugs , this may put them in greater risk of HIV, especially is they don’t practise safe sex.

Alcohol and drugs can alter people judgement. They may take risk that would expose them to HIV that they would not take when sober.

Drugs can increase someone risk of getting HIV and cause some special problems for people who are already HIV infected

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