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A drug prescribed for pain and to help individuals who are addicted to more dangerous opiates could also help people whose STD tests detected the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) avoid transferring the illness.
Although Methadone has helped some people end heroin habits, and is now said to help contain the spread of HIV, it can be dangerous itself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one-third of the more than 15,500 prescription overdose-related deaths that occur in the U.S. every year can be attributed to Methadone.
In the meta-study published in the British Medical Journal, an international team of researchers examined nine prior studies from several countries. The information gathered showed a more than 50 percent reduced chance of receiving an STD test result showing a new HIV infection among users of intravenous drugs undergoing opiate substitution therapies, often involving Methadone.
"These results are important given that increases in HIV incidence have been reported among people who inject drugs in a number of countries in recent years, where opiate substitution therapies are illegal or severely restricted," said the study's lead author, Matthew Hickman, from the University of Bristol.
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