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Public health officials have long cited positive HIV test results in needle drug users as a major problem. The infection typically spreads quickly among these individuals, who then spread it to the non-drug using population during sex. However, new evidence suggests that progress is being made fighting the problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that roughly one in 10 needle drug users received positive HIV test results in 2009. This is half the number who tested positive positive during the 1990s.
While the rate of infection was down, there was also some discouraging news in the report. The study revealed that only about one-half of those infected with HIV were aware of their condition. Furthermore, the number of injection drug users who reported that they seek annual HIV testing decreased from 66 percent in 2006 to 49 percent in 2009.
The report concluded that public health agencies should launch renewed prevention efforts among needle drug users. This may include making sterile syringes more widely available, which would cut down on the number of drug users who share needles with each.
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