Injection drug users (IDUs)

Injecting drug use accounts for nearly one-third (36%) of cumulative AIDS cases in the US, and for 28% of the 42,156 new AIDS cases reported in 2000. These cases include injecting drug users (IDUs), their sexual partners and children born to them. African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately affected by IDU-associated AIDS. In 2000, the proportion of IDU-associated AIDS cases was 26% for African Americans, 31% for Latinos and 19% for whites. Women are also disproportionately affected. Overall, 62% of AIDS cases among women have been attributed to IDUs and sex with IDU partners, compared with 34% of cases among men. IDUs are at even greater risk for other serious drug use-related illnesses, including hepatitis C and overdose. Injecting drug use accounts for 60% of hepatitis C infections in the US. Rates of hepatitis C infection among young IDUs are 4 to 100 times higher than rates of HIV infection. Drug overdose is a major cause of death among heroin users, even in areas with high rates of IDU HIV.