Saturday, April 03, 2010

Crack, Cocaine Use Puts Teens at Increased Risk of HIV

A study in the April issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse reports that teenagers who use, or have used, crack or cocaine are at significant risk of contracting HIV. These teens report using condoms “rarely” or “never” during sex, putting then at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“Unprotected sex is the most common way that HIV is transmitted among teens, so if we can develop a clearer picture of why some kids engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, we will be better prepared to educate them about safe sex,” says lead author Marina Tolou-Shams, PhD, of the Bradley Hasbro Childrens Research Center. [Source: Medical News Today]

The study surveyed about 280 teenagers who were participating in psychiatric programs. Dr. Toulou-Shams also believes the link between psychiatric disorders and HIV-risk behavior is important.

As a result of the study, researchers are recommending that medical professionals who treat adolescents talk to them consistently about their drug use and sexual activity, emphasizing the risks involved with both.