1887

Abstract

Illicit drug control has been on the global agenda for more than a century. Infections have long been recognized as one of the most serious complications of drug abuse. Drug users are susceptible to pulmonary, endovascular, skin and soft tissue, bone and joint, and sexually transmitted infections caused by a wide range of bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoal pathogens. In addition, injection drug users are at increased risk for parenterally acquired infections such as human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, tetanus and malaria. Factors related to drug use, such as unsterile injection practices, contaminated drug paraphernalia and drug adulterants, increase the exposure to microbial pathogens. Illicit drugs also affect several components of the complex immune system and thus modulate host immunity. In addition, lifestyle practices such as multiple sexual partners, overcrowded housing arrangements and malnutrition serve as co-factors in increasing the risk of infection. In this review we present an overview of the unique aspects of microbial pathogenesis, immune modulation and common infections associated with drug use. We have restricted the definition of drug abuse to the use of illegal drugs (such as opiates, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines), not including alcohol and nicotine.

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2011-04-01
2020-01-28
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