Massachusetts sees spike in HIV cases among opioid users

Federal public health officials are joining Lawrence and Lowell, Mass., health officials with their investigation of a large increase in reported HIV cases, according to NECN.

There were 52 new HIV cases in 2017 among those who used opioids, up from  23 cases a year prior.

The CDC will provide resources to help local health officials determine the underlying factors of the spike.

"The sooner we can discover why these infections are happening now, the sooner we can use the most effective prevention interventions based on the evidence," Al DeMaria, MD, infectious disease medical director and state epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said in a statement cited by NECN.

Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death in American under the age of 50, according to the CDC. Hepatitis C cases, contracted by intravenous drug use have also increased by 300 percent in the U.S.

More aritlces on opioids: 

FDA to change how it evaluates addiction drugs
FDA rejects Pain Therapeutics' opioid drug, shares plummet
FDA knew about dangerous opioid misuse, but failed to intervene, documents show

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