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HIV Rates Down Among Injection Drug Users

The CDC says the HIV infection rate among injection drug users has been reduced by half over the last 20 years. Health experts credit an increase in needle exchange programs for the reduction.

In 2009 the CDC HIV-tested a random sample of 10 000 injection drug users from 20 major US cities. They found an infection rate of about 9%.

Two decades prior, a similar survey of US injection drug users found roughly twice the infection rate, with one in five of those surveyed testing positive for the virus.

Other statistics from CDC’s report on HIV among injection drug users include:

  • Only half of the injection drug users surveyed had been tested for HIV with a year of being asked
  • There are approximately 1.2 million Americans with HIV. 17% of these are injection drug users
  • Only roughly half (45%) of those injection drug users infected with HIV were aware of their positive status prior to CDC testing
  • In 2009, 34% of injection drug users surveyed reported sharing needles

The full survey results can be read in the March second edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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