Many significant changes have occurred in recent years in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In recognition of these advances and their impact on substance abuse treatment, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) convened a Consensus Panel in 1998 to update and expand TIP 15, Treatment for HIV-Infected Alcohol and Other Drug Abusers (CSAT, 1995b).

Major research advances have substantially improved our understanding of the biology of HIV and the pathogenesis (i.e., origin and development) of AIDS. The pathogenesis of AIDS is now known to result from the ability of HIV to replicate at the rate of a billion new virions (viral particles) per day and nearly 10 trillion new virions over the course of HIV infection.

This, countered by the ability of the body to produce CD4+ T cell lymphocytes (a primary target cell for HIV), sets the stage for the struggle between HIV and the immune system--a struggle that lasts from the first day of HIV infection to end-stage disease and death.

Early in the U.S. HIV/AIDS pandemic, the role of substance abuse in the transmission of HIV and AIDS became clear. HIV is most efficiently transmitted through exposure to contaminated blood.

As a result, injection drug users represent the largest HIV-infected substance-abusing population in the United States. In addition to contracting HIV through contaminated injection equipment, sexual contact within relatively closed sexual networks is another route of HIV transmission among injection drug users.

These networks are characterized by multiple sex partners, unprotected intercourse, and the exchange of sex for drugs. The use of alcohol and noninjection drugs within this environment only increases the HIV/AIDS caseload.

Because substance abuse and the HIV/AIDS pandemic are so interrelated, substance abuse treatment can play an important role in helping substance abusers reduce risk-taking behavior, thus helping to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS.

The current trend in the HIV/AIDS pandemic shows that a disproportionate number of minorities who live in inner cities are affected by or at risk for contracting HIV. This population is poor, hard to reach through traditional public health methods, and in need of a wide range of health and human services.

The recommendations and guidelines in this TIP continue to reinforce the approach established in TIP 15, which was the creation of a comprehensive, integrated system of care for HIV-infected substance abusers.

Collaborative, efficient networks must be developed among substance abuse treatment centers, medical personnel, mental health personnel, and public health officials to prevent further spread of the disease and to provide high-quality care to infected individuals.

Bringing together these disciplines that traditionally work independently of each other is an enormous challenge. An additional important challenge is to overcome misunderstandings and a lack of communication based on differences in ethnicity, culture, economic status, sexual orientation, and lifestyle.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has induced some substance abuse treatment centers in HIV epicenters (e.g., San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C.) to increase the range of services they provide in order to attend to all the needs of their clients: substance abuse treatment; HIV/AIDS treatment; and other medical, behavioral, psychological, and social needs.

As a result, these treatment centers are providing clients with comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and management of all presenting problems. For those times when services are unavailable, these treatment centers may establish referral networks and resource links with other treatment providers in their communities.

There are various audiences for this TIP, and different chapters are targeted to some of them individually. Nevertheless, the entire TIP should be of interest to anyone who wants to improve care for HIV-infected substance abusers.

Prevention and treatment of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS require a multidisciplinary approach that relies on the strengths of a variety of providers and treatment settings. It is unrealistic to expect any single provider to be competent in all areas of care; this TIP will help a wide range of providers become familiar with the various issues surrounding substance abuse and HIV/AIDS and should foster a better understanding of the roles of other providers.

The Consensus Panel for this TIP drew on its considerable experience in both the HIV/AIDS and the substance abuse treatment fields. The Panel was composed of representatives from all of the disciplines involved in HIV/AIDS and substance abuse treatment, including physicians, alcohol and drug counselors, mental health workers, State government representatives, and legal counsel.

The TIP is organized into ten chapters, the first of which provides an introduction to HIV/AIDS, including the origin, life cycle, and progression of the disease. The second part of Chapter 1 provides an overview of the changes in epidemiology since 1995 when the first edition of this TIP was published.

Epidemiological data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are summarized, and readers are provided with an overview of the pandemic in the regions of the United States, the current trends and populations most affected by the disease, and a discussion of special populations.

Chapter 2, which is targeted to medical personnel, discusses the medical assessment and treatment of HIV/AIDS, including adherence to treatment, barriers to care, treatment and testing, pharmacology, and prophylaxis against opportunistic infections.

Chapter 3, which is aimed at mental health workers, explores the mental health treatment of clients with substance abuse problems and HIV/AIDS and discusses common mental disorders, assessment and diagnosis, pharmacology, counseling, and staff issues.

Chapter 4 presents issues concerning HIV prevention. These issues include assessing clients for risk, risk-reduction counseling, sexual risk reduction, prenatal and perinatal prevention, transmission of resistant strains of HIV, syringe sharing, rapid HIV testing, and infection control issues for programs.

Chapter 5 discusses integrating treatment services, as well as the importance of linkages between substance abuse treatment programs and other providers.

Chapter 6 provides information about case management and finding resources for HIV-infected substance abusers, including resources for substance abuse treatment, mental health, medical care, and income and other financial concerns for clients.

Chapter 7 examines counseling issues, including staff training and attitudes, screening, and issues specific to the substance-abusing client with HIV/AIDS.

Chapter 8 explores ethical issues, and Chapter 9 discusses legal issues and provides basic information about Federal laws regarding discrimination and confidentiality.

Chapter 10, geared toward program administrators, presents information about funding sources and grantwriting.

In light of the volumes of information available about HIV/AIDS, this TIP is not intended to be exhaustive. A wide array of resources is provided for those who wish to find more information on topics of interest.

The appendixes in this TIP provide additional information on several topics and include the 1993 Revised Classification System for HIV and AIDS, Federal and State codes of ethics, AIDS-related Web sites, and a list of State and Territorial health agencies and AIDS hotlines.

In order to avoid awkward construction and sexism, this TIP alternates between "he" and "she" for generic examples.

Throughout this TIP, the term "substance abuse" has been used in a general sense to cover both substance abuse and substance dependence (as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. [DSM-IV] [American Psychiatric Association, 1994]).

Because the term "substance abuse" is commonly used by substance abuse treatment professionals to describe any excessive use of addictive substances, it will be used to denote both substance dependence and substance abuse.

The term relates to the use of alcohol as well as other substances of abuse. Readers should attend to the context in which the term occurs in order to determine what possible range of meanings it covers; in most cases, however, the term will refer to all varieties of substance abuse disorders as described by DSM-IV.

The recommendations that follow are grouped by chapter. Recommendations supported by research literature or legislation are followed by a (1); clinically based recommendations are marked (2).


From SAMHSA/CSAT Treatment Improvement Protocols
TIP 37: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with HIV/AIDS