Take Steps to Curb HIV Spread Among People Who Inject Drugs During COVID-19, CDC Says
By David Doolittle

 COVID-19_HIV_Advisory

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, physicians, practices, and other health care professionals can take steps to continue to curb the spread of HIV among people who inject drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a health advisory. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic complicates the delivery of essential services, including services for people who inject drugs, potentially hindering further efforts to address the increase in HIV transmission,” the advisory says

Of the 4,000 new HIV infections each year between 2008 and 2018 in Texas, less than 500 a year were caused by injection drug use, according to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). 

However, several recent HIV clusters and outbreaks related to injecting drugs in other parts of the country spurred the CDC to publish the advisory, which provides guidance for preventing, identifying, and responding to HIV during the pandemic. 

“People who inject drugs need comprehensive medical care,” the advisory says. “Providers and organizations serving people who use drugs can collaborate to ensure that people currently or previously injecting drugs, or who are at high risk of drug injection, have access to culturally competent prevention and care services, including during the context of COVID-19.” 

Recommendations include modifying services to reduce the number of face-to-face interactions. 

Find more guidance on treating patients safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic on the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Resource Center, which is updated daily with news, tools, and information.

Last Updated On

October 15, 2020

Originally Published On

October 14, 2020

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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