A study that was conducted from 2011 to 2018 has found that there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of HIV infections due to drug use and homelessness. An outbreak in Glasgow is now at its worst in 30 years. Before this, the number of new cases was at a stable rate.
According to the Express, scientists from Glasgow Caledonian University have pointed out that the key factors in this outbreak are a combination of rising homelessness levels and the practice of using dirty needles to inject cocaine. This has created what they have called a “perfect HIV storm”.
The injection of crack cocaine is fairly common in other countries. However, the HIV cases in Scotland are mostly due to the injection of cocaine in powder form. This increases the risk of blood borne viruses being transmitted between users. Despite the homeless community being fairly aware of the dangers of sharing needles it is still being done on a daily basis. Some members of the homeless community attempt to clean their needles to minimise the risks. Unfortunately the more frequently they share them, the less effective this cleaning becomes.