Modes of ingesting drugs, particularly injecting drug use, have been identified as a strong behavioural risk factor for HIV transmission.
With recent cases of people reporting to be using injectable drugs such as heroine and crystal methamphetamine (popularly known as TIK in the neighbouring South Africa) in Southern African including Botswana, the situation is worrying.
These reports are worrying because it is not uncommon for injecting drug users to share used needles or other drug paraphernalia (syringes, crack pipes, filters, swaps etc).
This is the easiest way to transmit HIV because it allows blood to be transferred from one user to another.
Where drugs are procured by pooling resources together, as is common practice among drug users, the drug solution after it has been prepared would be shared by the individuals who contributed to getting the drug.
The mixture will be shared amongst individuals using a single syringe that is used in administering the drug amongst the multiple users, thus the risk of direct contact of blood increasing the chances of HIV transmission.
The sharing of syringes and other drug paraphernalia not only puts the individual at a high risk of contracting HIV but also at risk of contracting the deadly Hepatitis C, a liver disease caused by the contagious Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
Completely stopping the use of drugs by individuals would reduce the chances of contracting HIV or re-infection if you are already infected.
Furthermore, this would definitely improve both physical and mental health of individuals.
If you think that you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, please contact BOSASNet on 395 9119 or 72659891 to speak to a counsellor in confidence, on 395 9119 or 72659891.
You can also visit our website www.bosasnet.com or find us on Facebook.