How has alcohol and the abuse of other drugs affected HIV’s infection and spread? Immensely, especially in regard to women. Most women who are known drug or alcohol users or are known recovering addicts have contracted HIV. Part of the problem stems from women who use intravenous drugs like heroin for their highs: a number of 46% has been attributed to women who are intravenous drug users. Another shocking figure comes in the form of women who are heterosexual but have had sexual contact with male intravenous drug uses. 18% of women become infected this way.
Treatment of HIV has come a long way since its first experimental inceptions. Though many drugs are still very experimental, those infected with the disease have a far greater chance of living a longer and more normal life than at the beginning of HIV’s history of treatment procedures and medications. Unfortunately, because of their abusive past and continuing use with alcohol or drugs, women and men in general refuse to be compliant with the treatments available for HIV. This is why addiction treatment is such a necessary first step in the treatment of HIV infected women. It allows them to get the other kinds of help they need in order to be a fully functional member of society, and more importantly a healthy and happy person.
Other problems arise for women who have contracted HIV and are abusers, problems which an residential drug treatment cannot only treat. Many women suffering from drug addiction do not only suffer from a single a couple of diagnoses. They suffer from multiple diagnoses. As a result, they are in a frailer state physically than other abusers. Problems could arise because such patients often have trouble enduring the great encumbrance of the varying medical methods used for HIV treatment and threaded with treatment for drug addiction. Other disorders of a psychological variety might be affecting the patient as well, and makes treatment that much harder for them.
But there is hope for such women. Studies have shown that it is possible with great effort and hard work to help women recognize their problem with addiction and treating that addiction successfully.