Addicts Have High Rates of Infectious Disease, But Few Treatment Programs Screen Patients

Less than half of U.S. addiction-treatment programs screen for infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis, despite the fact that people with addictions have higher rates of all these diseases than the general public.

A new survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that programs specifically dedicated to treating opiate addictions were more likely to screen for infectious diseases than other treatment programs. Inpatient programs, and those operated by the federal government, also were more likely to conduct screening.

Among opioid treatment programs, 93.3 percent screened for tuberculosis, 69.8 percent screened for HIV, 64.1 percent screened for hepatitis C, and 62.1 percent screened for hepatitis B.

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