How Drug Abuse Worsened HIV, Hepatitis Infections – NDLEA

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Drug abuse worsens the severity of the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis infections because of the peculiar behaviour and quality of life of drug addicts, it has been learnt.

The Head of Drug Reduction Unit of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Adamawa State, Shehu Dankolo, stated this in an interview with our correspondent.

Dankolo noted that HIV and Hepatitis B & C infections among drug abusers are more acute than the public realises.

“Drug abuse badly worsens the cases of certain diseases, including HIV infection and hepatitis B & C,” he said.

Explaining how this happens, Dankolo said: “Drug abuse lowers immunity very seriously. People taking drugs contract HIV more easily because indiscriminate drug intake lowers their immunity to it.

“Number Two: The danger is intravenous drug use: the use of syringe by drug users. I was shown seven secondary school pupils who were using a single syringe to inject themselves. This one would inject himself and give it to another one, and pass it on. That way, it is very easy to contact HIV and Hepatitis B & C.

“Number Three: Carelessness that comes with intoxication. If people are intoxicated, they adopt careless lifestyles. They meet commercial sex workers without protection. That is how it makes it easy to be infected with HIV. And, of course, fluid is often passed on through sex; it is a source of Hepatitis B & C infection.

“Number Four: If someone is HIV positive and placed on anti-retroviral drugs, the drugs do not work. In fact, currently, they have converted the anti-retroviral drugs to substances of abuse.”

The NDLEA official said progress was being made as sensitisation against drug abuse was becoming high.

“People are widely aware of the consequences of drug abuse, some of which I have highlighted. Many youths, who would have taken that path, are abstaining. The enlightenment in the media has been high,” he said.

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