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Study: HIV-positive drug users need kidney testing

Category: Kidney Diseases

Health officials are urging HIV infected injection drug users to seek kidney testing following the results of a recent study that show that these individuals often have poor kidney function. The study suggests that careful monitoring of these individuals may be necessary.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed the medical records of 902 confirmed injection drug users. They found that 45 percent of HIV-positive individuals had kidney disease, while only 16 percent of those who were not infected had the kidney ailment.

Shruti Mehta, who led the investigation, said that the issues of HIV and drug use are intertwined because they share many of the contributing factors, and can exponentially compound the likelihood of kidney disease.

Mehta said that doctors should offer kidney testing to all of their patients who use drugs or are HIV-positive, as this may lessen the burden on the public health system by reducing the chances that they will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Each year, fewer than 900 individuals receive kidney transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, underscoring the importance of prevention.

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