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Dear teenagers, doing drugs increases risk of HIV in adulthood

According to a study, adolescents that are exposed to drug use, mental distress and violence are at risk for HIV in adulthood.

fitness Updated: Dec 22, 2017 15:51 IST
Asian News International, Washington DC
Drugs can have repercussions on your life decades after doing them. (Shutterstock)

Here’s one more reason to stay off drugs. A study, led by University of Michigan, suggests that teenagers who use drugs may engage in unsafe sexual behaviour that increases their chance of HIV infection. “Our findings support the notion that the increasing frequency of psychosocial risk factors experienced during adolescence may have effects on HIV risk behaviours decades later,” said study lead author David Cordova, U-M assistant professor of social work. Since the study mainly involved African-American respondents, the findings may not be generalised to all adolescent populations, Cordova said.

Cordova and colleagues conducted the study from September 1994 to May 2013 in Flint, Mich. The participants involved 850 students, mainly African-American, who were asked about their sexual behaviours, mental health, being a victim or witness of violence, and social conditions (family, peer and community factors) beginning at age 14. They were assessed six times during the study until age 32.

One out of four respondents who had a relatively higher frequency of co-occurring psychological and social risk as adolescents were more likely to report unprotected sex with recent partners, as well as sexual intercourse with someone they just met in adulthood. In addition, they were more likely to use illegal drugs prior to sex, and had at least four sexual partners. This segment was more vulnerable to HIV risk than those who were part of the low frequency of risk group, which had fewer instances of drug use, violence and mental distress during adolescence. The findings appear in the journal AIDS.

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First Published: Dec 22, 2017 15:51 IST