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Injecting-Drug Users Still Put Themselves at Risk for HIV

Despite majority being tested for the virus, many still engage in HIV-risky behavior

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting-drug users accounted for 6,600 (12 percent) of the new cases of HIV detected in the United States in 2006, and many report engaging in HIV-associated behaviors, according to a report published in the April 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Luke Shouse, M.D., of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health, HIV/STD Epidemiology Section in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed the latest available data from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System collected between May 2005 and February 2006 to assess injecting-drug users' behaviors that put them at risk for HIV.

While 71.5 percent of respondents had been tested for HIV and 27.4 percent reported participating in an HIV behavioral intervention, 62.6 percent reported unprotected vaginal sex and 31.8 percent reported sharing syringes, the investigators note. Testing rates were lowest among men, non-Hispanic whites and those aged 45 to 54, of whom 69.8 percent, 68.6 percent and 68.5 percent, respectively, reported being tested within the previous 12 months.

"These data can help guide local, state and national prevention services tailored to injecting-drug users at risk for HIV infection and other bloodborne or sexually transmitted infections," the authors write.

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