Opioid abuse has become a major public health problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), overdose deaths involving prescription opioids increased to about 19,000 deaths in 2014, more than four times the number in 2000. In 2012, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.1 million people suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, with an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.
Heroin and other opioids are often injected. According to Harm Reduction International, HIV prevalence is 28 times higher in people who inject drugs compared with the rest of the population. Read more.
Research to end the AIDS epidemic goes on all day (and many nights) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To mark World AIDS Day 2016, we bring you a sampling of the important work being done around the world by our scientists, clinicians, students and staff.
With no cure or vaccine in sight, HIV/AIDS remains a devastating epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where nearly 70% of new HIV infections occur. To curb HIV/AIDS, researchers have proposed a strategy to use drug treatment to decrease new transmissions so much that the epidemic eventually dies out. The concept requires changes in standards of when anti-retroviral therapy begins and who receives it. Could “treatment as prevention” prove to be the strategy to finally end the AIDS epidemic?