Teen Cocaine Use and HIV

June 14th, 2010

A recent study conducted by the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center reports that teens with a history of cocaine use are significantly more likely to have unprotected sex and therefore are more vulnerable to contracting HIV. The study found that not only were teens six times more likely to use condoms inconsistently with cocaine use, but were also heavily undereducated when compared to other risky behaviors. Cocaine use in teens had more influence on contracting HIV than other factors such as alcohol or marijuana use.

The Bradley Hasbro Research Center study suggests some ways to limit unprotected sex with cocaine user teens. Lead author Marina Tolou-Shams suggests that teens be educated specifically on cocaine use just like they’re educated on alcohol or marijuana effects.

The need for this education was found in some of the data found during the study.

The study found that less than 50% of cocaine using teens use condoms consistently. In comparison, 71% teens who have never used crack or cocaine said they consistently used condoms. Additionally, many participants who were reported to have used cocaine were also likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking marijuana or underage drinking. These numbers are troubling and the researchers conducting the study recommends that clinicians treating adolescents should routinely discuss their patients’ mental health the risks of using drugs and having unprotected sex.

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