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Increased stimulant use weakens immune system of HIV-infected patients
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Increased stimulant use weakens immune system of HIV-infected patients

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system and destroys CD4 or T cells or the white blood cells, making it hard for the body to fight diseases and infections. As the immunity gets severely affected, the body is unable to cope with environmental changes. Now, Adam Carrico, Ph.D., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has found out that stimulant use, particularly methamphetamine (meth), can worsen the heath of HIV-positive people despite following the treatment protocol. Along with other researchers, he also tried to find out effective ways of optimizing health of active stimulant users with HIV infection.

In one of the studies published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Carrico along with other researchers analyzed samples from 55 HIV-infected men who were active stimulant users and were undergoing anti-retroviral therapy. Post their analysis, the team concluded that active stimulant use in HIV-infected individuals allowed HIV to become more active and expanded the HIV reservoir like the lymph nodes. In another study involving Carrico as the lead author, 84 HIV-positive meth using men were examined who displayed greater soluble CD14 (sCD14) levels associated with mortality during the chronic phase of HIV infection thereby, predicting faster clinical HIV progression and cardiovascular disease. The researchers are now developing behavioral interventions to reduce stimulant use in HIV patients hoping that reduced usage gives an opportunity for better control of HIV viral load and even improve the immune system.

Dangers of meth abuse

Also known as speed, chalk, cotton candy and ice, meth is a highly addictive brain-altering drug that poses great risk to physical and psychological health of those who use it and even of those who never do including children, older people and other communities due to the toxic chemicals used in its manufacturing process. When abused over longer periods of time, meth can alter a person’s behavior, feelings and emotions; cause people to indulge in risky behavior; and even change brain structure affecting memory, mood, emotions and judgment. Some of the potentially dangerous effects of meth abuse include violent behavior; mental illnesses, such as paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety and depression; dependence and addiction. Long-term meth use is also known to suppress T cells in the body that fight germs and help the body thwart any infection.

Not just men, even women abuse meth for weight control and to increase energy levels. As a result, they experience decreased appetite, euphoria, insomnia, hypertension, seizures, severe tooth decay and violent behavior. When abused during pregnancy, meth use can endanger the health of the mother, and increase risk of neurodevelopmental problems in children and low birth weight among newborns. Given the far-reaching negative effects that meth use may cause to both men and women, it is recommended to abstain from the drug. However, if someone has developed an addiction to meth, it is advisable to seek professional treatment. Best treatment for meth addiction may combine detoxification along with behavioral therapies or counseling sessions.

Treatment for meth addiction

At Sovereign Health, we understand that when it comes to getting treated for drug addiction, women have different requirements than men. Understanding the special needs of women, meth addiction treatment for women at our state-of the-art facilities spread across the United States combines traditional clinical treatment with therapeutic activities for long-lasting recovery. For more information on our treatment programs or to locate our best meth addiction treatment centers for women, call us at our 24/7 helpline number of chat live online with a member of our team.

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