New Jersey currently ranks fourth in the nation for overall cumulative HIV cases and has the largest proportion of women infected with AIDS in the United States.
HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse
In State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2008, 61,539 substance abuse treatment admissions were reported to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services by substance abuse treatment providers. Of this number, 42% reported that their primary drug was heroin and other opiates; while statewide 17% reported they were Intravenous Drug Users (IVDUs).
In New Jersey, there is an estimated 9,173 individuals living with HIV/AIDS who have been exposed through injection drug use, accounting for 27% of all cases Statewide. Another 1,744 individuals, 5% of cases are thought to have been exposed to the virus via heterosexual sex with an injection drug user.
To service the need of individuals infected and affected, as well as assist prevent the spread of the HIV virus, DAS dedicates nearly $2.4 million annually. A large portion of this funding goes toward providing HIV Early Intervention Services (EIS) and HIV Specialist positions at nineteen (19) licensed substance abuse treatment facilities statewide. Services are available in areas of the state that have the greatest need for these services. These 19 agencies provide outpatient treatment including pre- and post-test counseling and an availability of HIV testing for all clients. For a list of these agencies and their contact information, click here.
Additional funding dedicated goes both toward the implementation of rapid HIV testing and directly to the Public Health and Environmental Laboratories (PHEL) http://www.state.nj.us/health/phel to ensure that continued HIV testing and other laboratory support services are provided to the participating HIV EIS clinics.
Since DAS has recognized that individuals with substance use disorders, specifically injectable drug users, are at a higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS than the general population, DAS developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJ) that provides administrative services including lab directorship, consultation, lab oversight, authorization and technical support through UMDNJ-RWJ to ensure rapid HIV testing for clients in several substance abuse treatment facilities statewide. To find out more about HIV Rapid Testing through UMDNJ-RWJ, visit their website at www.njhiv1.org.
For more information about HIV/AIDS and services available throughout New Jersey, please visit the Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of HIV/AIDS Services (DHAS) website at www.state.nj.us/health/aids/index.shtml.