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PROVIDENCE – New findings from a Rhode Island Hospital study claim that there is a 74 percent greater risk of overdose among drug users if they are HIV-infected.
Drug overdose is a common cause of non-AIDS death among people with HIV and is the leading cause of death for people who inject drugs. While the association between HIV infection and injection drug use has been well-documented, the potential association between HIV and overdose has received less attention.
Traci Green, a researcher with Rhode Island Hospital and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, led a study to systematically review the literature.
Green reported that 46 studies were reviewed, and 24 of those reported data that were sufficient for inclusion in their analysis. Based on those studies, Green said: “Our results suggest that people who use drugs have a 74 percent greater risk of overdose if they are HIV-infected compared to their counterparts who are not HIV-infected. Over the past 30 years, we have made impressive strides in caring for and prolonging the lives of people with HIV. Our study found that premature death by overdose is an issue that affects people with HIV disproportionately.” •