The epidemic of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and suggestions for its control in drug abusers

Michael Marmor, Don C. Des Jarlais, Samuel R. Friedman, Margaret Lyden, Wafaa El-Sadr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intravenous (IV) users of illicit drugs have accounted for 17% of AIDS cases seen in the United States. Previous research has shown that more than half of IV drug abusers entering a drug detoxification program in New York City had serologic evidence of exposure to the virus believed to cause AIDS. Spread of AIDS among drug abusers presumably occurs by transmission of the virus via shared needles, works, or drug-containing solutions. Secondary spread of AIDS from IV drug abusers to others may occur by venereal transmission or by perinatal transmission to infants. In this article, relevant characteristics of the AIDS epidemic are presented to assist the staff of drug treatment programs in their work with IV drug abusers. Suggestions regarding the education of drug treatment personnel and the dissemination of information about AIDS to drug abusers and their families are offered. Fact sheets on AIDS for drug treatment and prison staff, and for drug abusers with and without the disease are presented. Finally, possible approaches to the prevention of AIDS in drug users are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984


  • AIDS
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • drug abuse
  • infectious diseases
  • prevention
  • transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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