Cocaine addiction and drug counselling reduce use and significantly decrease HIV

“Drug abuse treatment can have important positive public health benefits even if the outcomes are less than perfect,” lead study author DL George Woody told Reuters Health. “The 12-step oriented combination of group and individual counselling worked the best, though all patients reduced their risk.”

Woody urged everyone to “support substance abuse treatment. It can do a lot of good both in the short and long term.”

In an article in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Dr. Woody who is at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his colleagues report on changes in HIV risk among 487 people undergoing treatment for cocaine addiction.

Treatment was associated with an average reduction of cocaine use from 11 days per month to one day per month after six months, the authors report, with participants who received both individual and group drug counselling faring best.

Treatment participation was also associated with significant reductions in risky sex and the total risk of HIV infection, the report indicates.

Those who completed treatment showed a trend toward less sex risk and significantly less total risk than did patients who dropped out before completing their program, the researchers note.

HIV risk reduction corresponded to reductions in drug use and to improvements in psychiatric symptoms, the results indicate. This improvement was similar regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or the presence of antisocial personality disorder.

“The fact that all treatments consisted of no more than three weekly outpatient sessions that included risk reduction counselling is worth noting,” the authors conclude, “because it suggests that reductions in cocaine use and HIV risk can be achieved at a relatively low cost, at least for a portion of the patients who seek treatment for cocaine dependence.”

SOURCE: Journal of AIDS (news -web sites) 2003;33:82-87.

Back to top of page

Powered by WordPress