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1988 COULD be a year of particular focus on the intravenous drug abuser. A study released recently by Stephen C. Joseph, MD, health commissioner of New York City, and colleagues has renewed attention to the role of intravenous drug users in the epidemiology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Across the country, public health experts are devising new strategies to staunch the tide of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in this population. But these same experts say that characteristics of the illicit drug culture, as well as political constraints, may hinder their efforts.
The New York study, reported at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, found that the number of AIDS-related deaths among intravenous drug abusers actually exceeded those occurring in homosexual men in New York. In a review of medical records of drug-related deaths, 2520 additional deaths attributed to AIDS were uncovered that were excluded in official
Chris Anne Raymond. Combating a Deadly Combination: Intravenous Drug Abuse, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. JAMA. 1988;259(3):329–332. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720030003002