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Few Drug Users Get HIV Prevention Help, Global Report Says

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Only a fraction of the world’s injection-drug users receive education or other assistance in preventing contraction or spreading of the HIV virus that causes AIDS, according to a new study that says government health officials often overlook a key vector for the disease.

Reuters reported March 1 that researcher Bradley Mathers of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues said that 90 percent of the world’s estimated 16 million injection-drug users get no AIDS education or assistance. Of these, 3 million are believed to be HIV-positive, accounting for perhaps 10 percent of the entire global population with the virus.

In countries like Russia, a majority of new HIV infections occur among drug users. “Although the number of countries with core HIV prevention services is growing, the level of coverage in injecting drug users is poor in many countries,” Mathers said.

The study appears online in the journal The Lancet.

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