AIDS and drugs


Made by: aiste Stragyte and Deimante Butkute

When AIDS first emerged as a disease over twenty years ago, few people could have predicted how the epidemic would evolve, and fewer still could have described with any certainty the best ways of combating it. Now, in the year 2002, it is known from experience that AIDS can devastate whole regions, knock decades off national development, widen the gulf between rich and poor nations and push already-stigmatized groups closer to the margins of society.
Just as clearly, experience shows that the right approaches, applied quickly enough with courage and resolve, can and do result in lower HIV infection rates and less suffering for those affected by the epidemic. An ever growing AIDS epidemic is not inevitable; yet, unless action against the epidemic is scaled up drastically, the damage already done will seem minor compared with what lies ahead. This may sound dramatic, but it is hard to play down the effects of a disease that stands to kill more than half of the young adults in the countries where it has its firmest hold.
Already, 21.8 million people around the world have died of AIDS, 4.3 million of them children, by the end of 2001. Nearly twice that many – 42 million – are now living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and most of these are likely to die over the next decade or so. The most recent UNAIDS/WHO estimates show that, in 2002 alone, 5 million people were newly infected with HIV.
The African countries south of the Sahara have some of the best HIV surveillance systems in the world. They show that the estimated number of newly infected adults and children in Africa reached 3.5 million by the end of 2002. As the rate of HIV infection in the general population rises, the same patterns of sexual risk result in more new infections simply because the chances of encountering an infected partner become higher.
Altogether, there are now 16 countries in Africa in which more than one-tenth of the adult population aged 15-49 is infected with HIV. In seven countries, all in the southern cone of the continent, at least one adult in five is living with the virus. In Botswana, a shocking 38.8% of adults are now infected with HIV, while in South Africa, 20.1% are infected, up from 12.9% just three years ago. With a total of 5 million infected people, South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
Whilst West Africa is relatively less affected by HIV infection, the prevalence rates in some large countries are creeping up. Cōte d_Ivoire is already among the 15 worst affected countries in the world; in Nigeria over 5% of adults have HIV but the prevalence rate in other West African countries remains below 3%.
Infection rates in East Africa, once the highest on the continent, hover above those in the West of the continent but have been exceeded by the rates now being seen in the southern cone. The prevalence rate among adults in Ethiopia and Kenya has reached double-digit figures and continues to rise.
These rises are not inevitable. Uganda has brought its estimated prevalence rate down to around 5% from a peak of close to 14% in the early 1990s with strong prevention campaigns, and there are encouraging signs that Zambia_s epidemic may be following the course charted by Uganda. Yet, even in these countries, the suffering generated by HIV infections acquired years ago continues to grow.
See our web pages AIDS in Africa, AIDS Orphans in Africa and Aids drugs in Africa.
The diversity of the AIDS epidemic is even greater in Asia than in Africa. The epidemic is also more recent and many Asian countries lack accurate systems for monitoring the spread of HIV. This means that the estimates of HIV infection in Asia are often based on less information than in other regions. The lack of research and information on the nature and linkages between sexual networks in Asian countries also makes it difficult to predict the future course of the HIV epidemic. Half of the world_s population lives in Asia, so even small differences in the absolute numbers of people infected, can make huge differences in the infection rates.
UNAIDS estimates that 700,000 adults, 450,000 of them men, became infected in South and South-East Asia during the course of the year 20012 Overall, as of end – 2002, the region is estimated to have 6.0 million adults and children living with HIV or AIDS.
The region of East Asia and the Pacific is still keeping HIV at bay in most of its huge population. Some 270,000 adults and children became infected in the course of the year 2002. This brings the number of people living with HIV or AIDS at end-2002 to 1.2 million, representing just 0.1% of the region_s adult population, as compared with the prevalence rate of 0.6% in South and South -East Asia.
However, the epidemic in East Asia has ample room for growth. The sex trade and the use of illicit drugs are extensive, and so are migration and mobility within and across borders. The fluidity in international markets and especially the lack of economic stability in Asia has erupted into non-stop movement within countries and among countries, mirrored in the growing prevalence of HIV. India, China, Thailand and Cambodia, to name only a few, have highly mobile populations within their borders, with people moving from state to state and from rural to urban areas. In China, permanent and temporary migrants may total as many as 120 million people.
See our individual pages of AIDS in India, China and Thailand.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
In the countries of the former Soviet Union, the HIV epidemic continues to be heavily concentrated in injecting drug-users. The absolute number of cases has remained small in many countries so far, but overall the growth has been rapid.
In any country with unsafe drug-injecting practises, a fresh outbreak of HIV is liable to occur at any time. This is especially true of the countries in Eastern Europe where the HIV epidemics are still young and have so far spared some cities and sub-populations. In the Russian Federation, a new outbreak of HIV among injecting drug users in the Moscow region in 1999, resulted in the reporting of more than three times as many new cases in that year as in all the previous years combined. A conservative estimate of the number of adults and children living with HIV or AIDS in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union is 1.2 million in the year 2002.
See our web page of AIDS in the Russian Federation Ukraine, and Belarus.
HIV is ravaging the populations of several Caribbean island states. Indeed some have worse epidemics than any other country in the world outside sub-Saharan Africa. In Haiti, it is estimated that over 6% of adults are living with HIV, and in the Bahamas the adult prevalence rate is over 3.5%. In the Dominican Republic, one adult in 40 is HIV-infected, while in Trinidad and Tobago the rate exceeds one adult in 100. At the other end of the spectrum lies Saint Lucia, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, where fewer than 1 pregnant woman in 500 tested positive for HIV in recent surveillance studies. In the most affected countries of the Caribbean, the spread of HIV infection is driven by unprotected sex between men and women, although infections associated with injecting drug use are common in some places, such as Puerto Rico.
Haiti, where the spread of HIV may well have been fuelled by decades of poor governance and conflict, is the worst affected nation in the region. In some areas, 13% of anonymously tested pregnant women were found to be HIV-positive in 1996. Overall, around 8% of adults in urban areas and 4% in rural areas are infected. HIV transmission in Haiti is overwhelmingly heterosexual, and both infection and death are concentrated in young adults. It is estimated that nearly 200,000 Haitian children had lost one or both of their parents to AIDS by the end of 2001.
The heterosexual epidemics of HIV infection in the Caribbean are driven by the deadly combination of early sexual activity and frequent partner exchange by young people. In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases is high for the region, a quarter of men and women in a recent national survey said they had started having sex before the age of 14, and half of both men and women were sexually active at the age of 16. In a large survey of men and women in their teens and early twenties in Trinidad and Tobago, fewer than a fifth of the sexually active respondents said they always used condoms, and two-thirds did not use condoms at all.
A mixing of ages, which has contributed to pushing the HIV rate in young African women to such a high levels, is common in this population too. Whilst most young men had sex with women of their own age or younger, over 28% of young girls said they has sex with older men. As a result, HIV rates are five times higher in girls than boys aged 15-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, and at one surveillance centre for pregnant women in Jamaica, girls in their late teens had almost twice the prevalence rate of older women.
Latin America
The HIV epidemic in Latin America is highly diverse. Most transmission in Central American countries and countries on the Caribbean coast occurs through sex between men and women. Brazil, too, is experiencing a major heterosexual epidemic, but there are also very high rates of infection among men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. In Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, HIV infection is also confined largely to these sub-populations. The Andean countries are currently among those least affected by HIV infection, although risky behaviour has been recorded in many groups.
The countries with the highest prevalence rates in the region tend to be found on the Caribbean side of the continent. Over 7% of pregnant women in urban Guyana tested positive for HIV in 1996. Strikingly, the rates in pregnant women were similar to those in patients attending clinics for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
In Honduras, Guatemala and Belize there is also a fast-growing epidemic, with HIV prevalence rates among adults in the general population between 1 and 2%. In 1994, less than 1% of pregnant women using antenatal services in Belize District tested positive for HIV, while one year later the prevalence rate had risen to 2.5%, the rate in one health centre, in Port Loyola, hitting 4.8%. Much of the problem is concentrated in teenagers, suggesting that the worst is still to come.
Heterosexual transmission of HIV is rarer in other countries of Central America. In Costa Rica, for example, HIV is transmitted mainly during unprotected sex between men. In this country, as in many other parts of Latin America, there is little systematic surveillance for HIV among groups with high risk behaviour, but studies among men who have sex with men in Costa Rica showed infection rates of 10-16% as long ago as 1993.
In Mexico, too, HIV has affected mainly men who have sex with men, more than 14% of whom are currently infected. HIV rates among pregnant women, however, are extremely low. Data from a programme to reduce the transmission of HIV from mothers to infants suggest that less than one in every 1000 women of childbearing age is infected. Even among female sex workers in Mexico, the prevalence rate is well under 1%.
A low prevalence of HIV infection among heterosexuals is the norm in the Andean region, at least in the countries for which data are available. For example, Argentina has typically high rates of HIV infection among injecting drug users and men who have sex with men, but a relatively low prevalence of 0.4% among pregnant women.
One of the defining features of the Latin American epidemic is that several populous countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, are attempting to provide antiretroviral therapy for all people infected with HIV. Coverage still varies widely, but these efforts are having a definite impact. While they are improving both the length and the quality of people_s lives, they are also increasing the proportion of people living with HIV. Nevertheless, some concern has been voiced over the risk that HIV prevention activities may suffer if too much effort and money is devoted to providing treatment.
High-income Countries
In high-income nations, HIV infections are concentrated principally among injecting drug users and gay men. However, in several Western European countries a large proportion of new HIV diagnosis (59% more, overall, between 1997 and 2001) is occuring through heterosexual intercourse. Very early in the epidemic, once information and services for prevention had been made available to most of the population, the level of unprotected sex fell in many countries and the demand rose for reproductive health services, HIV counselling and testing and other preventive services.
While the infection rates have been low in high-income countries, some countries have been reporting increases in their HIV rates. For example, Sweden currently has one of the lowest rates of HIV infection in the world. According to the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control the rate of new HIV cases in Sweden rose by 48% during the first half of 2001, with 155 cases reported. AIDS advocacy groups have attributed complacency to the rise in HIV cases, as well as overseas travel and rises in immigration. Also, many people may think that the danger is over because of lack of media coverage of the issues around HIV and AIDS.
The situation is very different among injecting drug-users. Some communities and countries have initiated aggressive HIV prevention efforts in this group, containing the HIV prevalence rate at below 5%. In many places, however, the political cost of implementing needle -exchange and other prevention programmes has been considered too high for such programmes to be started or maintained. As a result, there are continuing high prevalence rates among injecting drug-users in many high-income countries. For example, in Spain, a recent study in Barcelona found a prevalence rate of 51% among injecting drug users.
Among gay men, the virus had spread widely before it was even identified and had established a firm grip on the population by the early 1980_s. With massive early prevention campaigns targeted at gay communities, risk behaviour was substantially reduced and the rate of new infections dropped significantly during the mid-and late 1980_s. Recent information suggests, however, that risky behaviour may be increasing again in some communities. A study in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne in 1998 found that a third of gay men were less worried about HIV infection than they were before antiretroviral drugs became available. And they appeared to act on this new sense of security: these men were 40% more likely to have had recent unprotected anal sex than men whose fear of infection was not changed by the advent of therapy. Remarkably, similar results were found among gay men in New York, San Francisco and London. Among 3500 young gay men aged 15-22 in seven US cities, nearly 3 % became newly infected with HIV each year between 1994 and 1998. Complacency may not be the only factor involved in these worrying trends among men under 25. It is possible that some young men are not using condoms because they do not identify with the group of HIV-positive gay men, or because information programmes have failed to reach or convince them.

I have been HIV positive for almost two years and I_m 13 years old. I found out I was positive when I was 12 years old. My mom took me to the hospital and they tested me and told me to come back in one month. So we waited that whole month and it was time to go see if I had HIV. My mom and I went back to the hospital and the nurse came in and she said you are HIV positive. My mom broke down in tears and I was just looking at her and the nurse asked me if I understood and I shook my head. The nurse said you can die if you don_t take your medicine. She gave me and my mom a number with some writing on it and she said schedule an appointment to see a doctor. We left and when I got home my mom told my step daddy. He was crying and we sat down and we had a long conversation. We scheduled an appointment and they told my mom to bring me that week, so she did. We went to my appointment and the people were very nice and respectful. They took me and my mom in a room and they talked to me. They told me about all the medicine that can keep me alive. I met people who knew about HIV and I was thinking they can teach me some things about HIV. They told me do not stop taking your medicine because the virus would find a way to start making you immune to your meds. I started to play around and runaway and not take my meds with me and I got sick, so they had to stop those meds. They gave me more and I took them and I got better. Stay safe and protect yourself against HIV.

Drugs Narcotics

We want to fit in, to feel part of the group.

To rebel against adult authority.

To escape our problems.

To hide our feelings of inadequacy, and low self esteem.

The thrill & excitement of taking a risk!

Wanting to feel grown up.

Sometimes we tend to follow rather than lead…..

Some Facts About Drugs…Let_s Start At The Beginning…
You know of course, that most of us adolescents do not begin with the so-called hard drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth or heroin. Usage generally begins with drugs that are more easily accessible and, in the adult population, are legal; such as nicotine and alcohol. Usage frequently begins with easy access to these in the home, be it the home of their family, friend or relative. Tobacco and alcohol are believed, by many experts, to be the gateway or entrance to a path towards drug abuse.
Some Facts About Drugs…Let_s Start At The Beginning…
You know of course, that most of us adolescents do not begin with the so-called hard drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth or heroin. Usage generally begins with drugs that are more easily accessible and, in the adult population, are legal; such as nicotine and alcohol. Usage frequently begins with easy access to these in the home, be it the home of their family, friend or relative. Tobacco and alcohol are believed, by many experts, to be the gateway or entrance to a path towards drug abuse.

Generally, even us teens recognize the serious health risks associated with smoking. Yet, if we are willing to smoke, it seems to be an easy link to drinking alcohol. We have demonstrated that we are risk-takers so the obvious next level is to marijuana. From there it can be a dangerous, even deadly spiral towards other drugs, and the destructive behaviors that go along with them.

if you choose drugs the storm is just beginning
The disease of addiction appears to follow a predictable path, no matter what drug is involved. Most often, the user begins out of some level of curiosity. If the initial experience produces pleasurable results, the individual will more then likely move on to recreational use, such as with friends, at parties or on the weekends. As the user begins to enjoy the drug more and more, it is inevitable that the usage will increase, such as using during the week on a regular basis. Soon, the users life becomes more and more centered around getting the drug and finding opportunities to use it. It will interfere with relationships, school, work, and any other formerly productive areas of interest in he drug users life. By now the drug-dependency and the addiction have taken control. The individual finds him or herself unable to function without the drug. If there is not a physical addiction, there is most certainly a psychological dependency upon their drug of choice. And if their drug of choice is not easily accessible, they will resort to whatever it takes to obtain that drug.

Marijuana is the illegal drug most often used in this country.

Studies show nearly 50% of us teenagers try marijuana before we graduate high school. Many parents of us teens have experimented with marijuana in their college days, and now find it difficult to talk to us about the use of marijuana. But today, marijuana use begins at a much younger age and there is a much more potent form of marijuana available to the youth of today. Many of us teenagers have stated that our use of marijuana is one way for us to cope with some of life’s problems. It has also been stated that smoking marijuana enables us to deal with anxiety, anger or depression. It seems we are finding a way to escape, something to do so as to ease our boredom. Long-term studies of high school students appear to demonstrate a pattern that few young people use other drugs without first having tried marijuana. Of itself then, marijuana is a gateway drug. It is evident that you parents need to be giving us young people something constructive to do so as to alleviate the boredom in our lives, and block off this gateway, not pointing fingers, just suggesting and noticing the a lot of our teenage friends have nothing to do, no requirements or chores. Ahhhhh, don_t hate me, you all know this is true.

Some Scary & True Info On DruGS
Crystal meth, crank, speed, glass, ice . . . meth amphetamine drugs go by many names and have many forms. Typically, it is found in powder or crystallized forms and can be smoked, inhaled, eaten or shot-up intravenously. Users are referred to as ‘tweakers’. It’s very available and also cheap to buy. It produces an extended high which makes it extremely tempting to the young and foolish.
Meth speeds up the central nervous system causing physical and psychological effects that, at first, seem pleasurable. Users experience increased alertness and energy, decreased need for sleep, euphoria and increased sexuality. Meth is highly addictive as users often continue using to avoid the inevitable crash, that is when the drug’s euphoric effects begin to wear off. Meth tricks the body and brain into believing it has unlimited energy supplies, which is how meth users are able to stay awake for long periods of time. But these chemical imbalances in the brain and sleep deprivation result in hallucinations, extreme paranoia and often bizarre, violent behavior. Once meth entraps the user it wreaks havoc with their body from weight loss and malnutrition, to welts on the skin known as crank bugs, a shortness of breath, hyperactivity, severe depression, paranoid delusions and suicidal tendencies.
Drug Use Statistics and Legal Liabilities of Parents
· 60% of youngsters who use marijuana before age 15 go on to use cocaine.
· Between 1992-1995 marijuana usage among 12-17 year olds doubled.
· Columbia University has found that kids who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non-marijuana smoking peers.
· Average age for kids to begin experimenting with illegal substances is 13.
· The potency of marijuana THC levels today is 15-20 times stronger than marijuana in the 1970_s.
· On average, kids found by their parents to be using drugs, have been using for two years prior to discovery.
· Most medical insurance policies have a clause that allows them to not pay a medical claim “if there is an illegal substance in the system, or an illegal act is being performed at the time of the loss.” Parents can be held legally responsible for those bills.
· Several states are enacting Parental Responsibility Laws in which the parent is held responsible for the behavior of the child.
· If a child brings any amount of a controlled substance into their parent_s home or auto, the parent could have that home or auto seized by the federal government, regardless of having no knowledge of their child_s behavior.
· Average cost of drug rehabilitation is $20,000-$30,000 a month, with few medical insurers paying anything on such a claim.
· In 1995, 19.9% of 8th-graders have used marijuana. 34.1% of 10th-graders have used marijuana. 41.7% of 12th-graders have used marijuana (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5/96).
· In 1996, 4.4 percent of high school seniors had used crystal methamphetamine at least once in their lives, an increase from 2.7 percent in 1990. Data shows that 2.8 percent of seniors had used crystal methamphetamine in 1996, more than twice the 1.3 percent reported in 1990 (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 9/97).
· Adolescents who smoke pot are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non-pot smoking peers. 60% of youngsters who use marijuana before they turn 15 go on to use cocaine (American Council for Drug Education, 1997).
· One in five American teenagers have used inhalants to get high (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1996).
· The percentage of 12-to-17-year-olds who have ever tried heroin has more than doubled and just as many eighth-graders as 12th-graders have tried heroin. There were 141,000 new heroin users in 1995, and that there has been an increasing trend in new heroin use since 1992. Estimates of use for other age groups also increased, particularly among youths age 12 to 17: the incidence of first-time heroin use among this age group increased fourfold from the 1980s to 1995 (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1996).
· In 1996, 6.5 percent of 10th-graders had tried cocaine at least once, up from 5.0 percent in 1995. The percentage of 8th-graders who had ever tried cocaine rose significantly from 2.3 percent in 1991 to 4.5 percent in 1996 (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1/96).