Aids reduced in gay male IV drug users

June 02, 2000

ATLANTA — ATLANTA--The number of AIDS cases among gay men who intravenous drugs has been decreasing since 1992, although many men in this high-risk group continue practices that spread the disease -- including sharing needles and having unprotected sex, the government said yesterday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 5 percent of men in that catagory have been diagnosed with AIDS in 1998, down from 8 percent in 1990. the decline is due in large part to increased use of anti-retroviral therapies that delay disease progression, the CDC said.

Officials said studying men in this high-risk group-- defined by the agency as men who had sex with men and used intravenous drugs--was important because they have multiple risks for contracting and spreading the disease.

A survey of 513 men considered in that high-risk group who were found to have AIDS from 1996 to 1998 showed many are taking part in risky behavior that can spread the disease to other groups.

The survey showed that, in the past five years, 82 percent had used drugs, 34 percent had used intravenous drugs, and 15 percent had shared needles.

It also showed that 76 percent had sex with men and 43 percent had sex with women. Nearly half of those who were sexually active did not use condoms.

The survey indicated that 85 percent of the men in the high-risk group were 30 to 49 years old; 36 percent were black, 42 percent white and 17 percent Hispanic.

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